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China to reduce army reserves amid plans to cut 3 lakh troops

Beijing: China will reduce the number of reserves for its 2.3-million-strong army and increase them for other services as part of reforms aimed at reshaping the
reserve forces adapt to information warfare.

Sheng Bin, chief of National Defence Mobilisation Department of China’s Central Military Commission, said China will reduce the reserves for the world’s largest army and increase reserves for other services.

Sheng’s comments on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress, China’s Parliament, did not refer to the number of troops to be reduced. While carrying Sheng’s remarks, state-run Global Times said China has announced a cut of 300,000 troops by the end of 2017 to build a more elite and efficient military.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also the head of the CMC which is the overall high command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), had announced in 2015 to cut down three lakh troops, which according to later reports caused resentment and
concern over loss of jobs.

It is not clear whether the three lakh troops would be relocated in different units or if the process of their retirement is underway. While the army reserve will be reduced, the reserves of other military services including the navy, air force and the rocket force, (missile force) will be increased in a bid to keep up with China’s military modernisation, the report said.

The structure of the reserve forces will adapt to information warfare from traditional combat-oriented and mechanised ones, Sheng said.

According to the CMC guideline, a new structure will be established in which the CMC will take charge of the overall administration of the PLA, the Chinese People’s Armed Police and the militia and reserve forces.

The battle zone commands will focus on combat preparedness, and various military services will pursue development. President Xi has ordered widespread reforms to restructure the country’s military including carrying out exercises
involving live ammunition and battle conditions.

The report quoted Major Gen Chen Zhou of the PLA Academy of Military Science as saying that many officers will retire and will be assigned to new positions in this round of military reform.

China will step up efforts at the national level to help retired servicemen resettle to civilian life by adopting a series of laws and regulations, Chen told reporters.

PTI