Chinese President Xi Jinping has promoted Xu Qiling, Commander of the People’s Liberation Army’s Western Theatre Command which oversees the borders with India, to the rank of a General, amid the continued standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
Xi, who is also Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) – the overall high command of the PLA, promoted 58-year-old Xu to the rank of General – the highest rank for officers in active service in China.
The other officers who were promoted to the rank of General included Commander of the Southern Theatre Command Wang Xiubin, Commander of the PLA Army Liu Zhenli, and Commander of the PLA Strategic Support (Missile) Force Ju Qiansheng, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Xi presented certificates of the orders he signed to them at a ceremony held by the CMC in Beijing on Monday.
Xu, who held the rank of Lt. Gen. previously, was appointed to head Western Theatre Command ground in June last year.
Xinhua in its report referred to Xu as the Commander of the PLA’s Western Theatre Command.
Regarded as the rising star in the PLA, Xu was one of the young generals promoted by Xi after he took the helm of the PLA in late 2012.
India and China were locked in a military standoff at multiple friction points in eastern Ladakh since early May last year.
However, the two sides completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of Pangong Lake in February following a series of military and diplomatic talks.
The two sides are now engaged in talks to extend the disengagement process to the remaining friction points.
India has been particularly pressing for disengagement of troops in Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang. According to military officials, each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive high altitude sector.
There was no visible forward movement in disengagement of troops in the remaining friction points as the Chinese side did not show flexibility in their approach to this issue at the 11th round of military talks.
On June 25, India and China held a virtual meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs during which they had agreed to hold the next round of military talks at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement in remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh.
The two sides had a “frank exchange” of views and decided to maintain dialogue to reach a mutually acceptable solution for withdrawal of troops in all friction points to enable progress in the overall ties, according to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi.