Beijing, Sep 30 (IANS) China will hold one of its biggest ever military parades on Tuesday as part of its National Day celebrations which also coincides with 70 years of the ruling Communist Party’s rule.
The military parade will take place in Tiananmen Square in front of officials, selected members of the public, and 188 military attaches from 97 countries, the BBC reported.
The Ministry of National Defence has reported that 15,000 military personnel will be taking part, including 59 different elements of the military, while 580 pieces of military equipment will roll through the streets and 160 aircraft will fly overhead.
President Xi Jinping will review troops along Chang’an Avenue – Beijing’s major thoroughfare – and afterwards a number of foot, armour and aircraft formations will pass through or over Tiananmen Square.
For the first time, a contingent from China’s 8,000-strong UN peacekeeping standby force will also participate.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has expressed happiness about showcasing sophisticated new weapons platforms, all of which it said were already in active service.
Some of the machinery expected to go on display are the latest road-mobile DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile; two unmanned aircraft, one a supersonic surveillance and targeting drone called the DR-8 and the other a stealthy batwing-shaped drone dubbed Sharp Sword, designed to be launched from aircraft carriers; Y-20 transport aircraft, J-20 stealth fighters and early warning and surveillance aircraft; and the latest variant of China’s strategic bomber the H6-N.
A Defence Ministry spokesman recently said that China had no intention or need to “flex its muscles” with this display, but the focus was on demonstrating a “peace-loving and responsible China”, reports the BBC.
Increases in China’s military spending has accelerated since President Xi announced major reforms in 2015.
Over the last decade, the defence budget grew by at least 10 per cent every year – it now stands at $168.2 billion, the second largest in the world.
National Day is celebrated annually to commemorate the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. It paves the way for a seven-day public holiday called the “golden week”.