Xi rapidly consolidated power after assuming party leadership in late 2012 and then the presidency the next year

China is the elephant in the room and the biggest debate in international affairs is how a rising China shapes the world based on its soaring ambitions. The scale of China's rise has had huge impact on the world and 2018 will be critical as Xi Jinping begins his new term. Will China adhere to principles of the multilateral system, a shared community and non-interference in sovereign affairs.

Clear-headed understanding of the international economic and political frameworks that serve best to negotiate and mediate the mutual benefits of engagement with China is what is needed in the current age.

Chinese President Xi Jinping making meeting with PLA his first mission after 19th party Congress that elevated him to the stature of Mao and Deng signifies that the world's biggest military force could get further assertive along disputed zones including 4,057-km-Line of Actual Control defacto boundary between India and China. In fact Xi has begun his second five-year term ordering the country's 2.3 million-strong military, the world's largest, to be absolutely loyal to the ruling Communist Party and intensify its combat readiness by focusing on how to win wars.

Xi began his second tenure by holding a meeting of top military officials, regarded as a main source of power base. The President (also party general secretary), who heads the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) the overall high command of Chinese military, is the only civilian leader in the body which is otherwise packed with top most officials of the armed forces. He has directed PLA to improve its capabilities and strive to become one of the world's greatest armies, a day after he unveiled the new Communist Party leadership, according to China-based experts who have followed the developments but did not wish to be identified.

Xi wants the PLA to become one of the world's greatest armies by 2050, along with other interim goals such as building a modernised army by 2035. The president also repeated a more pressing task for the PLA - a major upgrade of capabilities, information technology and achieving the goal of military mechanisation by 2020. Xi is emphasising to make PLA "one of the world's greatest armies by 2050" to achieve great power status for himself. But analysts warn that any misadventure by PLA along LAC and other disputed territories in SE and East Asia could adversely impact Xi's quest to seek great power status.

"Firstly, the road map of 2020, 2035 and 2050 for the PLA build up is in sync with great power status objectives. Second, Xi has chucked out 4,885 PLA officers in anti-corruption drive and promoted his loyalists for better control of the military. Thirdly Xi did away in 2015 with "relatively independent" service headquarters and centralised powers," commented noted China expert Srikanth Kondapalli. "Xi will assert across territorial issues but will climb down based on power calculations keeping in mind the strategic imperative of "great power". If he gets bogged down with LAC then he will lose the great power status," claimed Kondapalli.