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China flexes muscles with unprecedented WW-II victory parade


The DF-26 nuclear and conventional missiles attend the parade in Beijing on Sept. 3, 2015. A Xinhua photo

BEIJING (PTI): In an unprecedented show of military might, China Thursday displayed long-range "aircraft carrier-killers" and latest weaponry to mark the 70th anniversary of its victory over Japan in World War II but made a surprise announcement of slashing troop numbers by 3 lakh.

Amid bitter territorial disputes with neighbours, the 2.3-million strong Chinese military put up a well-coordinated show rolling out its latest armaments ranging from intercontinental ballistic missiles to medium-long range bombers in the parade at the sprawling Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

"Here, I announce that China will cut the number of its troops by 300,000," President Xi Jinping said in an unexpected announcement.

Flanked by Russian President Vladimir Putin, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and around 30 other world leaders like UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Minister of State for External Affairs General V K Singh, Chinese President Xi minced no words in targeting Japan for the WWII excess in which he said over 35 million Chinese suffered casualties.

The reduction in troops is regarded as part of efforts by the PLA, which operates with the annual defence budget of US$ 145 billion, the second highest after the US, to streamline its force as it launched unprecedented modernisation with new weapons and technology.

This will be China's fourth military reduction since the 1980s. In 1985, China downsized its army by more than 1 million, the largest cut ever.

Even after the reduction, China's military will still be the world's largest which meets China's practical needs, Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said.

Indian defence officials described the parade as impressive but said they were not surprised as these were already known.

Ballistic missiles, main battlefield tanks, amphibious assault vehicles, drones and other military equipment were part of the parade which was capped when some 200 fighter jets took to the skies and 70,000 doves and balloons were released.

Troops from 17 countries, including Pakistan and Russia, formed part of 1,000 foreign soldiers who took part in the parade which was witnessed by more than 40,000 spectators, including Chinese officials, citizens and foreign guests.
Eighty-four per cent of the 500 pieces of equipment of over 40 types were displayed in public for the first time, officials said.

The cynosure of the parade was Dongfeng-21D missile, the anti-ship ballistic missile described as "carrier killers" which caused concern among US defence officials as it could blow up aircraft carriers from a distance of up to 1,700-kms.

Though it was in the realm of speculation of US defence circles, this is the first time that it was put on display.

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China  Military  PLA  Parade  Japan  Missile  Armament  

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