Beijing, July 13: In a first, China will downsize its 2.3 million-strong military, the world’s largest, to under one million. This will be the biggest troop reduction in its history as part of its structural reform process. The numbers of other services, including navy and missile forces will be increased.
Global Times reported that “the reform is based on China’s strategic goals and security requirements. China plans to cut down its two million strong Peoples' Liberation Army (PLA) by more than half while boosting the number of its naval personnel (PLA-Navy).
Global Times said yesterday "the old military structure, where the army accounts for the vast majority, will be replaced after the reform. This is the first time that active PLA Army personnel would be reduced to below one million."
"This reform will provide other services, including the PLA Rocket Force, Air Force, Navy and Strategic Support Force (mainly responsible for electronic warfare and communication), with more resources and inputs, and the PLA will strengthen its capability to conduct overseas missions," Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times.
According to China’s Ministry of Defense data, there were about 8.50 lakh war veterans in the PLA army in 2013. However, no official figure was released regarding the total strength of the PLA army. Earlier Chinese President Xi Jingping had announced that the PLA would be cut by up to three lakh soldiers.