People's Liberation Army (PLA)

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  • Rohit asked: What security implications do you see by the presence of PLA or the Chinese army in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir?

    Priyanka Singh replies: In recent past, there has been extensive reportage on the possible presence of PLA (Peoples’ Liberation Army) soldiers in Gilgit Baltistan region of PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir). In October 2011, Chief of the Indian Army, General V.K. Singh, also endorsed this possibility by stating there could be 3000-4000 PLA soldiers in this region. In August 2010, an article by Selig Harrison published in the New York Times signaled similar possibility. Since PoK, and Gilgit Baltistan in particular, are largely inaccessible to the outside world, it is rather difficult to know the extent and nature of Chinese presence in Gilgit Baltistan.

    There are multiple security implications arising from Chinese activities in PoK. China in the past has deliberately tried to punctuate Kashmir as disputed by issuing stapled visas to people from J&K (Jammu and Kashmir) and obstructing an Indian army official posted in J&K to be part of a defence delegation visiting China. That it has willingly offered its assistance in infrastructure development in PoK and possibly has stationed PLA soldiers there, shows the duality in Chinese standards.

    In view of the strong bonhomie between China and Pakistan, the Chinese presence in Gilgit Baltistan close to the LoC could act to India’s detriment in times of war and other contingencies. In the broader context of India’s encirclement by China in the south Asian region, this kind of presence is disturbing since PoK is a territory which legally belongs to India. The need, therefore, is to ensure that the issue of Chinese presence in PoK figures predominantly in future bilateral exchanges between India and China.

    Troubled Waters, Anniversary Parade, PLA’s Power Projection: Is China a Concern for the World?

    This paper seeks to discuss three important issues concerning China today. The first part analyses the controversial South China Sea dispute that has gained prominence over time, especially after incidents like Bowditch or Impeccable. China’s military build-up in the South China Sea does not necessarily indicate that Beijing will use force to occupy more islands; rather, it seems that China seeks to enhance its military presence to manipulate its bargaining game for future negotiations.

    April 2012

    Integrated Joint Operations by the PLA: An Assessment

    In recent years the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been undergoing a series of transformations at various levels in keeping with its changed military doctrine which emphasises upon fighting `local wars under conditions of informationalisation`.

    December 11, 2011

    China's ‘Military Diplomacy’: Investigating PLA's Participation in UN Peacekeeping Operations

    The central focus of this article is to understand the evolution of the Chinese People's Liberation Army's engagement with UN peacekeeping operations in the light of China's military diplomacy. The article underlines that the PLA works as a foreign policy instrument in UN peacekeeping operations and furthers China's foreign policy agenda in many ways.

    September 2011

    China's Aircraft Carrier: Some Observations

    China’s aircraft carrier programme will not only affect the balance of power in the Asia Pacific region but also add impetus to the Chinese maritime intent.

    April 21, 2011

    White Paper on China’s National Defence 2010

    “China’s National Defense in 2010” reviews the success of the PLA modernization and informationization process while subtly indicating a shift in assessments about the international system and China’s place in it.

    April 01, 2011

    China’s 12th Five Year Plan and its Military

    China’s 12th Five Year Plan, approved by the National People’s Congress on March 14, has effectively tied up the PLA’s defence modernisation with overall national growth.

    March 25, 2011

    Ankur asked: What is the probability of success of a attack on Taiwan by PLA in coming decade or so?

    Jagannath P. Panda replies: I don’t think the PLA would be really plotting for an attack on Taiwan in coming times. Currently, the Cross-Strait ties are at their best after the KMT’s victory in Taiwan in last general election. China would like to consolidate this trend, instead of planning for an attack. Since the day Ma Ying-Jeou’s party has come to power in Taiwan, Cross-Strait ties have improved a lot, and the normal public discussion in Taiwan is to maintain the ‘status-quo’, and improve bilateral relations with mainland China instead of advocating for ‘independence’. In fact, the Taiwanese are progressively realizing the implications of ‘Rise of China’ in global politics today; particularly in economic terms. The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed recently between China and Taiwan is indicative of this. For its part, the Chinese government is happy to see TaiwanChina. For Chinese political leaders, the integration of Taiwan with mainland China is one of the top long-term foreign policy objectives. The latest ECFA is seen as a prelude to the peaceful unification process in the longer term. Many Chinese leaders and experts feel that ‘unification’ with Taiwan is just a matter of time, and they could achieve this task without really using force or plotting an attack. ‘Peaceful unification’ is a long-term strategy in Chinese foreign policy dialogue. That would also help China to consolidate its image as a ‘responsive and responsible’ power at many levels, especially when the PRC aims to become a super power.

    Deflecting the Assassin’s Mace: The Pentagon’s New AirSea Battle Concept and its Strategic Relevance to India

    Indian strategists may well find that many of the tactical quandaries faced today by the US carrier fleets cruising through the Asia Pacific are destined to become those of the Indian Navy in the not-too-distant future. Devising an AirSea Battle concept would enable it to parry blows and reassert sea control.

    July 07, 2010

    Nitin asked: Present Chinese Military force structure in Tibet & implications for India?

    Jagannath P. Panda replies: Though China’s military build-up in Tibet is primarily to take control of the region and make it one of China’s most powerful province; some of its new reach in terms of strategic bombers and long-range missiles would easily enable it to overcome India’s existing detection capabilities. The current plan of missile deployment is attached to the Chinese strategy of its rail linkages offering advantages to the Chinese troops to deploy the rail-car missiles along the border. The PLA’s capacity to move these missiles on wheels and aircraft easily in the Tibetan region indicates the logistical and mechanical revolution that is undergoing in PLA. The completion and execution of the Qinghai–Tibet railway and the expanded railway network up to the Nepal border poses some concerns too. On the Tibetan plateau, a number of new major airbases along with the innumerable newly developed satellite airstrips provide the Chinese Air Force capability to execute offensive operations over the Himalayas. In the west, the Chinese military has invested in logistical build-ups like a metallic highway capable of carrying battle tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and other technological equipment in Lhasa.

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