china maintains the largest standing army in the world with an effective strength of 2.5 million. In terms of manpower, it is the largest army and almost double of the strength of the Indian army. China is now focussed on Central Asia where the USA has not much leverage. It has chosen the restive province of Xinjiang as the venue of its latest military drill. Over 10,000 troops of the people's liberation army and the airforce have conducted a massive exercise in a mountainous terrain at altitudes of 4000 meters.

The Chinese as per reports also tested the Chengdu J-20 advanced strike fighter. This report originated via NDTV.

Scene of the exercise

Xinjiang the scene of the military drill was formerly known as Sinkiang. It is a Muslim majority region also referred to by China as an " autonomous region". This nomenclature is only in name and the Uighurs, the local Muslim community is a waging war for their rights. Another "autonomous region" is Tibet which is also in a state of passive resistance with tens of monks having committed suicide by burning to highlight their plight.

War game exercise

One can understand that the China's exercise or war game was basically to learn the intricacies of fighting a war in the rarefied atmosphere of the region. The Chinese army faces the Indian army across the Himalayas and Beijing will not be happy. China by this exercise has shown its belligerence and if one adds the recent drill by their navy in the South China sea, the omens are not good.

President XI, who like in the USA is the commander of the armed forces is making a leaner and more effective army. He has already reduced the strength by 300,000 and added greater fire power. In other words, he has increased the tooth to tail ratio.

Future

The consolidated military drill shows that at some places the USA has no leverage. India and its strategic partner the USA will certainly have much to think about.

Donald Trump is on track with a probable new China policy. He may well bring about a sea-change in American thinking on China. His policy will not be dictated by fear as Alistair MC Lean wrote but a more pragmatic approach to cage the dragon.

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