China has decided to reduce the size of its land-based army by about 50 percent to boost strength of its navy and air force. In a feature report highlighting the “transformational changes” made by the PLA, Xinhua on Sunday said: “This new data is unprecedented in the history of the PLA — the army now accounts for less than 50 percent of the total number of PLA troops; almost half of our non-combatant units have been made redundant; and the number of officers in the PLA has been reduced by 30 percent.”
Shanghai-based military analyst Ni Lexiong said “The Chinese military used to… operate following the model established in the second world war. It had to be reformed and optimised to meet the pressing needs of the changing times and this is the purpose of the overhaul,” Ni said. “In the old set-up, the PLA had too many officers. In this overhaul, all these officers must find new positions and adapt or they will be made redundant,” he added.
In the past few years, the PLA has downsized its military by retrenching three lakh troops under the military reforms initiated by President Xi Jinping. But it still remained the world’s largest military with two million personnel in the ranks.
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