In rare criticism, the People's Liberation Army Daily has criticised the armed forces taking part in a major live-fire exercise for their lack of efficiency and failure to master the skills needed to wage information warfare. The criticism followed poor results from the recent Hanhai Storm exercises on the Kerqin grassland in Tongliao city , Inner Mongolia , according to the paper. Three divisions, comprising about 50,000 troops, from the Shenyang military region took part in the four-stage exercises, in which the troops representing the PLA were defeated by the enemy Blue Army - believed to have simulated US battle techniques. 'There were failures [in the exercises] which left regrets and thoughts,' the newspaper said. In the first stage, the Red Army was ordered to repel the attacking Blue Army. Despite its firepower being strengthened by the availability of six hi-tech aircraft, the Red Army troops were defeated because the army commander forgot to call in air support. The other three stages revealed the PLA officers were slow to respond and did not have a firm grasp of the advanced technologies needed to stage information warfare. Antony Wong, president of the International Military Association in Macau, thought the exercises simulated a 'ground battle' on the Korean Peninsula, with the Blue Army representing the US. 'The report is aimed at warning the PLA not to be complacent over the improvement of weaponry because the international environment is more complex than their imagination,' he said. Andrei Chang, a Hong Kong-based specialist in Chinese military affairs, said it was not the first time the newspaper had criticised the military. 'The military leadership has realised that the qualifications of their soldiers are inferior to their neighbouring countries, particularly Japan and South Korea,' he said.