Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to maintain “full-time combat readiness”. On Tuesday, the Chinese military was seen conducting aerial drills over Tibet’s capital Lhasa, days after the US passed a bill to back the Tibetan cause and the Tibetan government-in-exile. The military has been asked to remain on high alert as the new revised defense law expanding the powers of the armed forces came into force from this year.

Xi ordered the PLA to maintain “full-time combat readiness” and to be ready to “act at any second.” The commanders and the soldiers of the whole army must carry forward the spirit of combat without the fear of hardships and the fear of death”. Jinping signed the commission’s first order for 2021, which listed priorities in the training of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the People’s Armed Police Force (PLAF).

The order instructed the armed forces to stick to Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as their guiding principle and uphold Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military as well as military strategies in the new era.

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The order signed by Xi has urged the army to “use technology in training” and undertake joint operations in combat and training. He also ordered the use of computer simulations in drills and exploring ways to add more high-tech and online methods into their operations.

The military drill gains significance as it comes days after the US introduced the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020. The region might witness a new wave of dissent as the US law now reaffirms the right of Tibetans to choose a successor to the 14th Dalai Lama. The new law also calls for setting up a US consulate in Lhasa.

In 2020, the world had witnessed China’s aggressive posture along its de facto border with India as well as in the South China Sea.

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