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Stringent Rules For Top PLA Commanders Harsher Than Mao Era; China ‘Tightens Screws’ On Its Military

(200105) -- BEIJING, Jan. 5, 2020 (Xinhua) -- A formation of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Army takes part in a military parade celebrating the 70th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 1, 2019. (Xinhua/Liu Xiao)

Opinion: “Xi Jinping’s Military Purges: An Inside Look”

The Communist Party of China has long emphasized its control over the military, a legacy that Xi Jinping has taken to new heights. While some view his recent purges as merely tightening control, a closer examination reveals a more nuanced picture.

Xi’s recent removal of nine PLA generals, including those overseeing critical areas like space missions and the South China Sea, has grabbed headlines worldwide. Additionally, the dismissal or imprisonment of top executives from key defense corporations indicates deeper issues within the PLA.

Trouble began brewing in June 2023 when the PLA introduced unprecedented social conduct rules for senior officers, severely restricting their interactions. July witnessed a flurry of high-profile sackings, signaling a significant shake-up in leadership.

Xi’s emphasis on political discipline within the PLA underscores his commitment to aligning military goals with party directives. Amidst this, concerns about bribery affecting equipment quality came to light, reflecting deeper systemic challenges.

These purges are part of a broader trend across various sectors in China, highlighting systemic issues. Xi’s push for relentless corruption crackdowns underscores the severity of the situation.

The intensified purges come at a time when China faces economic struggles and political discontent, fueling rumors of internal instability. Xi’s cautious approach, including limited international travel, suggests a personal sense of vulnerability.

The consequences of these purges extend beyond internal stability. They raise questions about the PLA’s operational readiness and China’s global ambitions. While Xi remains steadfast in his vision of a Sino-centric world, internal challenges may temper his aspirations.

In light of China’s internal turbulence and external assertiveness, India must remain vigilant. The risk of external military escalation amid internal upheaval cannot be ignored.

Lt Gen PR Shankar, a retired Indian Army officer and current aerospace professor, offers valuable insights into these developments, emphasizing the need for strategic awareness amidst evolving geopolitical dynamics.

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