NEW DELHI: India’s construction of infrastructure on Chinese territory is the cause of the current rift between the two countries, Beijing-backed media said on Tuesday, adding that the tension could continue for a while yet.
The Global Times, in an article, noted the “positive" talks between senior military commanders of India and China on Saturday and said tensions, this time around, will not escalate into a conflict or another stand off like the one in 2017 which had lasted for 73 days.
“After positive talks between the two countries' senior military officers, experts said the dispute will not escalate into a conflict or another Doklam standoff, but the military standoff could continue for a little longer before concrete resolutions to the issues such as the trigger of the recent tension along the border, India's construction of infrastructure on Chinese territory, are made," the Global Times piece said.
Ties between India and China have been under strain since 5 May when troops of both sides exchanged blows at the Pangong Tso in Ladakh. Since then, tensions have erupted along multiple locations along the western sector of the 3,488 kilometre long Line of Actual Control border, with the Chinese army reported to have made intrusions in at least three areas considered Indian territory.
The most notable among these is the intrusion in Galwan valley area which has been accepted by the Chinese as Indian territory previously. There was another physical engagement in Sikkim, along the eastern sector. China has deployed a large number of troops in Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley besides gradually building temporary infrastructure and amassing weaponry. The Chinese army has also brought in reinforcements near the LAC, including artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles and heavy military equipment.
Much of the Global Times article focused on recent military maneuvers the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in China’s Northwest desert regions since 1 June, almost a month after the tensions with India rose.
A PLA airborne brigade held exercises deep in the northwestern desert in which a mechanised infantry battalion was joined by artillery and engineering troops besides scouts mimicking a real-combat scenario, the Global Times piece quoting the PLA Daily said. These maneuvers honed the troops' capabilities in command and control, rapid assaults and fire strikes, the Global Times report said.
A PLA Air Force airborne brigade of thousands of paratroopers were recently transported from Central China's Hubei Province to an undisclosed location in northwestern China in just a few hours, the China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Saturday. The PLA Daily did not specify if the airborne brigade in the latest report is the same one as in the CCTV report, the Global Times report said.
Besides the airborne brigade, another under the 74th Group Army of the PLA Southern Theater Command also conducted a series of artillery live-fire shooting tests in northwestern China, the Global Times said quoting a statement the PLA Southern Theater Command on Tuesday.