China's leadership has decided to cut the size of its land-based army (the
world's largest force) by about 50 per cent. It has also taken the decision to significantly
boost the size and capacity of its navy and air force as part of an
"unprecedented" strategic shift designed to transform the People's
Liberation Army (PLA) into a comprehensive modern force, according to the
report of Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post which quoted a state-run
In the last
few years, the PLA has downsized its military by retrenching three lakh troops
under the military reforms initiated by President Xi Jinping. However, it remained
the world's largest military with two million personnel in its ranks.
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 per cent 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
The statement indicated that the four other
branches of the PLA – the navy, air force, rocket force and strategic support
force, which is responsible for areas such as cyberwarfare - now together make
up more than half of the Chinese military, overtaking the army, which has
traditionally been the dominant unit of the PLA.
The expansion of the navy in the past few years
was massive. China now has one aircraft carrier, and another is undergoing
trial while the third one is under construction.