Cream of PLA gets foreign experience

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 January, 2005, 12:00am

More than 100 of the PLA's best and brightest young officers were recently sent around the globe for training by foreign militaries in an attempt to broaden the horizons of the future commanders.

Four groups of 25 officers were sent to Latin America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe from November to December to experience first hand the day-to-day lives of the armed forces in those regions, Oriental Outlook magazine reported.

The soldiers represented various branches of the PLA and were seen as having most potential for senior leadership positions.

The officers had wide-ranging adventures. Those who worked with the Venezuelan Army went through its infamous 'devil's training' which involved 20 hours of physical workouts for 30 days, while soldiers sent to Egypt visited the famed battle sites of the Suez Canal.

A PLA officer who participated in the programme said it expanded his perspectives regarding the mainland's military modernisation. The foreign programme was one of the first that involved the PLA's rank and file, with previous military-to-military exchanges usually only involving high-ranking officers.