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China kicks off major military exercise

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BEIJING (PTI): China on Tuesday kicked off a major military exercise to test battle readiness of the world's largest standing army "under real war circumstances" that would also test the logistic ability of moving its troops.

'Mission Action 2013 A', the first phase of the military exercises, began in eastern and southern areas of the country today, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

Over 40,000 troops of the 2.3 million-strong People's Liberation Army (PLA) are scheduled to be deployed for training in the three-phased exercises.

The first phase involved over 17,000 soldiers from the No. 31 Field Army of the Nanjing Military Area Command of the PLA, the report said.

The exercises were planned after the new President Xi Jinping, also head of the military and the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), emphasised on training to keep the troops in battle-readiness under testing conditions with enhanced training.

The military exercises would also test the army's logistic ability to move the troops.

The Donghai Fleet, the Nanhai Fleet and the Air Force have attached their ships, planes and gunships to the exercise, along with civilian assistant forces like civil airliners and railways, according to Commander Cai Yingting of the Nanjing Military Area Command.

"The troops will test and improve their abilities in fast reaction under real-war circumstances," Ma Chengxiao, Commander of the No. 31 Field Army said.

In recent years, the PLA has conducted a series of large-scale military exercises with several military area commands, including 'Stride 2009' and 'Mission Action 2010'.

The troops are expected to manoeuvre over 30,000 km by vehicle, railway, sea and air in order to test logistic capabilities of the PLA in a real war situation, according to military headquarters.

The army will also test coordination capabilities of different army units and organise cooperation between military and civilian forces.

Civilian transport tools, including railways and civilian vehicles, civilian airliners and ships will join the military action, the report said.

'Mission Action 2013' is part of the annual military training plan and has been approved by the Central Military Commission (CMC) chaired by Xi, who is also General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee.

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