In an unusual move, Chinese President Xi Jinping has appointed a new commander General Wang Haijiang for People’s Liberation Army’s Western Theatre Command, which oversees the borders with India.
General Wang Haijiang, 58 has replaced General Xu Qiling, 59 who was only promoted only in July this year to head the Western Theatre Command becoming the fourth commander to head the Western Theatre Command after the eastern Ladakh standoff with India began in May last year.
Earlier, General Xu replaced General Zhang Xudong, 59 in July who was appointed around mid-December last year to head the command, replacing 65-year-old Gen Zhao Zongqi who retired from the PLA.
It is not yet clear what will be the new role given to Gen. Xu Qiling and Gen.
Zhang Xudong, both still in service, after being relieved of Western Command.
China’s Western Theatre Command (WTC) oversees the Xinjiang and the Tibet Autonomous Regions, as well as the border with India, making it the largest geographical area under one command in the PLA.
Experts see it an unusual move as Western theatre Command has seen 4 commanders in the last 10 months.
President Xi visited Tibet in July this year, but it is not clear whether this leadership change in WTC is connected with that visit. New Commander Gen.
Wang Haijiang was previously commander of Xinjiang Military District, Tibet Military District and deputy of South Xinjiang Military District and fought in the Vietnam war.
Experts believe that there is a great focus on ethnic issues and border areas.
President Xi, who heads the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Central Military Commission (CMC), has promoted five PLA officers to the rank of generals on Monday, the highest rank for officers in active military service in China, official media reported.
The Central Military Commission (CMC) is the overall high command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The tensions at eaters Ladakh have eased to some extent with troops from both sides moving out from the Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and Gogra but the disengagement has not been completed from other friction points like Hot Springs and Depsang in eastern Ladakh.
Also, there was no official statement from the Chinese side after the disengagement of troops at Gogra last month.