69 years of progress for Lao People’s Army

Date 20 January 2018
Caption: Lao People’s Army troops defend a stronghold area.
Lao people of all ethnicities are happy to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the Lao People’s Army today, as soldiers around the country ably continue to carry out their duty of national protection and development.  Every year, Lao people delight in observing this day, which falls on January 20 – the date when the Lao People’s Army was established to fend off foreign aggressors and protect Laos against invasion. The Lao People’s Army, known originally as the Lao Issara Army, was officially established on January 20, 1949, in the Laohoung Phiengsa zone in Xiengkhor district, Huaphan province, by President Kaysone Phomvihane, who was the commander of the army. According to a document provided by the Party Central Committee of the Propaganda and Training Board, from 1954-1959 the revolutionary forces consolidated their bases in the strongholds of Phongsaly and Huaphan provinces, building up weaponry stocks and personnel in their fight for peace and national unity. The army forced the enemy and their henchmen to sign the Vientiane Agreement on November 2, 1957, before establishing the first coalition government with the Lao Patriotic Front. From 1959-1963, the army fought to break the stratagem of the American colonialists, who aimed to destroy national unity. From 1964-1968, the people’s war movement was mobilised, massing the population into a pillar of strength that would triumph over the Americans.  Despite heavy losses in battles in Indochina, the US continued to wage war by increasing troop numbers, aiming to destroy the revolutionary forces. The heaviest fighting took place at Koukiet along Road No. 9 and at Lamson 719. Facing strong military, political and diplomatic opposition, the United States and their henchmen eventually signed the 3rd Vientiane Declaration on the restoration of peace and national unity on February 21, 1973. At this time a temporary national coalition government and national political ministerial committee were established. The years 1973 to 1975 saw the start of an era to preserve peace and national unity, mobilise the people to strive for national liberation, and establish the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. From 1976 to the present, the realisation of the two strategic duties of national protection and development has brought Laos into an era of stability and prosperity. The Party views the safeguarding of national security as its major duty, and under its supervision the Lao People’s Army carries out related tasks. The army seeks to mobilise the masses and encourage solidarity among all ethnicities to protect the new regime. The military forces continue to fight against common enemies and work at the grassroots level in each locality to encourage the masses to participate in maintaining public security, and building and improving the administrative power of the revolutionaries. The Lao People’s Army also protected Lao territory and stability by destroying the stratagem and actions of enemy forces seeking to seize Lao land along border areas in the west of the country, notably in May, Kang and Savang villages in 1984, and in Boten district in Xayaboury province in 1987-88.  President Kaysone Phomvihane said that the army leads the whole country in overcoming difficulties and accomplishing every task and mission in the fight against enemies. The army is indeed central to the revolution and the Party’s main instrument of defence, which the president likened to a grinding tool. 
By Viengdavanh Banphahaksa