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China flexes muscles with unprecedented World War-II victory parade

In an unprecedented show of its military might, China on Thursday displayed long-range "aircraft carrier-killers" and its latest weaponry to mark the 70th anniversary of its victory over Japan in the World War II.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:September 3, 2015, 5:30 PM IST
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China flexes muscles with unprecedented World War-II victory parade
China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) navy soldiers stand on armored vehicles during the military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, China, September 3, 2015.

Beijing: In an unprecedented show of its military might, China on Thursday displayed long-range "aircraft carrier-killers" and its latest weaponry to mark the 70th anniversary of its victory over Japan in the World War II amid growing standoff with neighbours over territorial disputes.

The 2.3-million strong Chinese military put up a well- coordinated show rolling out its latest armaments ranging from intercontinental ballistic missiles to medium-long range bombers in the parade at the sprawling Tiananmen Square here, which Indian defence officials described as impressive but said they were not surprised as these were already known.

Ballistic missiles, main battlefield tanks, amphibious assault vehicles, drones and other military equipment were part of the parade which was capped when some 200 fighter jets took to the skies and 70,000 doves and balloons were released.

Troops from 17 countries, including Pakistan and Russia, formed part of 1,000 foreign soldiers who took part in the parade which was witnessed by more than 40,000 spectators, including Chinese officials, citizens and foreign guests. Eighty-four per cent of the 500 pieces of equipment of over 40 types were displayed in public for the first time, officials said.

The cynosure of the parade was Dongfeng-21D missile, the anti-ship ballistic missile described as the "carrier killers" which caused concern among US defence officials as it could blow up aircraft carriers from a distance of upto 1,700 kms.

Though it was in the realm of speculation of US defence circles, this is the first time that it was put on display. Also China unveiled yet another of its new fighter aircraft - the J-15. The aircraft carrier based fighter jet was developed after China commissioned its first aircraft carrier - the Liaoning - two years ago. While China relied mostly on Russia for its new advanced defence requirements due to lack of access to US and EU military technology, the new jet with foldable wings was developed as China is busy building two new aircraft carriers.

Flanked by Russian President Vladimir Putin, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and around 30 other world leaders like UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and India's Minister of State for External Affairs General V K Singh, Chinese President Xi Jinping minced no words in targeting Japan for the WWII excess in which he said over 35 million Chinese suffered casualties.

President Xi, the country's most powerful leader in decades after the first reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, said China would remain committed to "the path of peaceful development" and unexpectedly announced to cut 300,000 troops from its powerful military by 2017.

The unprecedented display of military might comes at a time when China is in a standoff with its neighbours over South China Sea and East China Sea. China's claim of sovereignty over almost all of South China Sea is hotly contested by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

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