PLA sets up leading group to boost training

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 April, 2014, 6:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 April, 2014, 6:01am

The People's Liberation Army has established a new leading group to supervise military training, the latest move in the drive by party secretary Xi Jinping to improve the combat readiness of the world's largest army.

The PLA Daily reported that the General Staff Headquarters will take the lead in the new group.

It will set up an administrative office and two subgroups to inspect troop training and education in military academies. All four wings of the PLA, its seven military regions and the armed police must establish corresponding organisations.

"This measure aims to make our training more practical, echoing Xi's repeated calls for building an army that can fight and win battles," said Qiao Liang , a major general in the air force and a commentator on military affairs.

A senior strategist with the Second Artillery Force, who declined to be named, said: "Our previous training was mostly based on the background of a peaceful [international] environment. But changes in the military situation in recent years have posed critical challenges. We must make more preparations for the possibility of coming battles.

"The better we are prepared, the lower the possibility of a real military conflict," he said.

The PLA's abilities have largely remained hidden to outside view. Soldiers have long given public displays of "hard Qigong" skills such as smashing bricks with their bare hands. But such "stunt" performances were now frowned upon in the Beijing Military Area Command, the PLA Daily reported in February.

The latest leading group joins four others established in the PLA since Xi took command. A leading group on overall reforms, headed by Xi, was set up in March, following others targeting mass line education, routine inspection and audits of land holdings and property.

Xi has launched an aggressive anti-graft campaign in the PLA. Last week, former deputy logistics chief Gu Junshan was charged with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of state funds and abuse of power.