China: Military Modernisation and Strategy

Monika Chansoria

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China’s strides towards the creation of a formidable military posture, backed by strong economic growth, demonstrate a resolve to assert its claim towards becoming an Asian superpower. By opting to showcase its military prowess to the world, the Chinese armed forces have signalled that they have come a long way from what was essentially a rustic and bucolic ‘Red Army’ that waged a ‘People’s War’ six decades ago. The modernisation programme undertaken by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) can be interpreted as the foundation of deterrence to attain the objectives of military strategy. Today, the Chinese armed forces are preparing to fight small-scale, high-intensity, regional combat and military operations in the future. At the same time, China seeks to deter or prevent their outbreak decisively through the possession of an adequate deterrent force and the determination to use that force. Robust military modernisation of the PLA represents a contrasting facet to the tall claims made by China, in so far as its ‘peaceful rise’ campaign is concerned. It is difficult to reconcile these rather opposing, while equally reinforcing, ideas. As a consequence, the entire debate on the impending “China threat” (Zhongguo weixie) theory has progressively gained significance within the Asian continent and beyond.

Monika Chansoria Dr. Monika Chansoria is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi. She has done her post-doctorate in International Relations as a Hermès Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for International Studies and Research, Paris (France), during the academic year 2007-08. She also holds a Ph.D. degree in International Relations from the American Studies Division of the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Dr. Chansoria was awarded the 2010 French Senior Fellowship by the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris, as a Visiting Professor and Associate Director of Studies (Directeur d’ études associé). Her areas of research interest include American security policy and strategy in Asia, with special reference to China and proliferation of WMD.
Dr. Chansoria is the author of Chinese WMD Proliferation in Asia: U.S. Response (2009) and co-author of Afghanistan: India’s Strategic Stakes (2010); and Iran Analysis: A Net Assessment (forthcoming). Besides, she has contributed numerous research papers and articles to various edited volumes, academic journals and national and international dailies. She has also been a participant in Track II diplomatic dialogues in India and abroad. She is presently working on China’s nuclear doctrine and strategy.



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