As per recent reports, China on Monday appointed a former top People’s Liberation Army officer, who looked after the country's border with India during Doklam and Ladakh military standoffs to its top parliamentary committee. This comes ahead of the annual meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) that begins on March 5.
Ex-PLA officer Gen Zhao, 65, headed the Western Theatre Command during the Doklam faceoff in 2017 and Ladakh standoff in 2020. He has been appointed the deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NPC, the country’s Parliament.
According to the regulations of the PLA, the retirement age for the top generals is 65. The Foreign Affairs Committee is an influential body of the NPC. The NPC and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), an advisory body, are scheduled to hold their annual meeting for a week.
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Gen Zhao, who headed the Western Theatre Command during the 2017 Doklam standoff where the Indian Army stood up against the PLA's plan of laying a road close to the Indian border in an area claimed by Bhutan, was replaced by Gen Zhang Xudong in December last year.
The Ladakh standoff, which happened under the leadership of Gen Zhao, had commenced in May last year following which China had deployed thousands of troops in the eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) for military exercises. This had given rise to a new round of tensions with India.
It has also been revealed that the attack on the Indian Army at Galwan valley was also carried out under the command of Gen Zhao.
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The military standoff in eastern Ladakh began in May last year. After several rounds of military-level talks and political intervention, India and China agreed for disengagement. The Indian and Chinese troops disengaged from the friction areas of North and South Pangong Lake in February.