China appoints ex-PLA General who headed troops on India front to top parliamentary committee

Beijing, Mar 1 (PTI) China has appointed General Zhao Zongqi, a former top People’s Liberation Army officer who oversaw the border with India, as the deputy chairman of the influential Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s Parliament.

Gen Zhao, 65, headed the Western Command during the Doklam faceoff in 2017 and Ladakh standoff in 2020.

As per regulations of the PLA, the retirement age for the top generals is 65.

An official announcement by the NPC said Gen Zhao has been appointed as the deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, an influential body of the NPC.

The appointment comes ahead of the annual meeting of the NPC beginning from March 5.

The NPC along with the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), an advisory body, will hold their annual get-together for a week.

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 also happened under the watch of Gen Zhao. It began in May last year after China dispatched thousands of troops which were mobilised for military exercises to eastern Ladakh borders, sparking a new round of tensions with India.

After the standoff which began on May 5 last year, the Indian and Chinese troops disengaged from the most contentious area of North and South Pangong Lake last month, holding talks to disengage from other areas in eastern Ladakh.

Besides, Gen Wang Ning, who till recently headed Armed Police Forces, was appointed as Deputy Chairman of the NPC Committee on Constitution and Law and Gen Zheng Weiping, former political commissar of the Strategic Support Forces as Deputy Chairman of the NPC Committee for the Education, Science, Culture and Health.