Laos is currently immersed in a series of events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Laos People’s Army, with the official celebration day being January 20. Various dignitaries, including the president, prime minister, and ministers, attend ceremonies emphasizing the army’s substantial role in shaping Laos into an independent nation.
The roots of the Laos People’s Army can be traced back to 1949 when it operated under the name “Royal Lao Armed Forces.” Initially focused on overcoming adversaries and dismantling the monarchy to pave the way for a democratic Laos, the army underwent a notable transformation on 1 October 1965, adopting the name”Lao People’s Army.”
Between 1969 and 1971, the Lao People’s Army, in collaboration with the Vietnamese volunteer army, thwarted their plans against the Vientiane Right-Wing Group. Victories included the destruction of special force camps and the liberation of strategic areas, leading to the signing of the Vientiane Treaty in 1973, a cease-fire agreement in the Lao Civil War.
The army’s efforts culminated in 1975, when they declared victory over the Vientiane Right-Wing Group, dethroned the monarch, and established the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The 75th anniversary of this historic declaration is now commemorated annually on 20 January. This year’s observance, however, stands out with notable visits, military exercises, and public displays.
As part of the festivities, on 18 January, the Lao People’s Liberation Army Air Force and the Chinese Air Force Red Falcon Air Demonstration Team held a fighter jet air show, coloring the sky over That Luang Lake in Vientiane Capital, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Lao People’s Army.
On the following day, at the same location, Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith led a unity walk accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister General Chansamone Chanyalath. The walk emphasized the army’s historical achievements, showcasing its pivotal role in liberating Laos. The event, adorned with a display of aircraft, underscored the army’s commitment to peace, stability, and international cooperation.
This week, Laos reflects on 75 years of the Lao People’s Army, celebrating the army’s past achievements and underscoring its ongoing commitment to safeguarding the country and contributing to international peace.