Home >Politics >News >India, China face-off risks escalation as Beijing ups rhetoric

NEW DELHI: The latest fracas between India and China due to border issues is no accident but "a planned move" by New Delhi to seize Chinese territory, a move that mounts the risk of escalating standoffs and conflicts between the two sides, an article in China’s Global Times has warned.

It has blamed India’s "illegally constructed defense facilities across the border into Chinese territory in the Galwan Valley region," for the tensions between the two countries that has seen both bring in reinforcements along their Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western Ladakh sector.

Tensions have been running high between India and China, with both sides involved in physical skirmishes at several points across their 3,488 kilometre long LAC, primarily in Ladakh but also in Sikkim. Several rounds of talks at the level of brigade commanders have failed to yield results so far.

In this backdrop, the Global Times piece accusing India of deliberately trying to seize Chinese territory will only stoke tensions between the two neighbours.

“Unlike previous standoffs, the latest border friction was not caused by accident, but was a planned move of New Delhi. India has been clearly and definitely aware that the Galwan Valley region is Chinese territory. But according to media reports, since early May, India has been crossing the boundary line into the Galwan Valley region and entering Chinese territory," the article by Long Xingchun, a senior research fellow of Academy of Regional and Global Governance, Beijing Foreign Studies University and president of Chengdu Institute of World Affairs, published on Monday said.

"Indian soldiers have also deliberately instigated conflicts with their Chinese counterparts. If India failed to stop such provocations as soon as possible, it will impact on Beijing-New Delhi ties - and may even exceed the sort of intensity of the (2017) Doklam standoff."

The standoff in Doklam, Bhutan, had lasted 73 days and saw a deterioration in bilateral ties, Long said. But thanks to contacts between the leadership of the two countries at the highest levels through informal summits in Wuhan in 2018 and Chennai in 2019, "strategic trust was restored".

“The results have not come easily and should be cherished by both sides," the article said.

The article pointed to a possible link between India’s action on the border with the slowing Chinese economy and some countries in the West blaming Beijing for the spread of the novel coronavirus. The article said some quarters in India believe this to be an opportunity to take advantage of.

"However, this speculative mind-game is based on an incorrect judgment of the international order and China's national condition. This is flawed logic and ultimately detrimental to India" it said.

China has effectively curbed the covid-19 pandemic in its country, with businesses resuming and life already having returned to normal, it said. "This demonstrates the strong leadership of the Chinese government and firm social cohesion in China," the article pointed out.

In contrast, in India, the number of covid-19 infections have been climbing, surpassing the numbers of China and "the inflection point" yet to come.

“Currently, India's top priority should be handling the epidemic and restoring economy rather than instigating border disputes," the article warned.

Reports of China facing global isolation was "an illusion" that only takes into account US interests, the article said, adding that "the current international situation is not in favor of India to take advantage of China."

“The Indian government should keep a sober head to not be used as cannon ash by the US," it said adding later that “the Trump administration encourages India to be tough on China so as to provoke and profit from the China-India disputes."

“Although China's relationship with the US is tense, the international environment for China is much better than it was in 1962 when India started and (was) crushingly defeated in a border war with China. In 1962, the national strength of China and India were comparable. Today by stark contrast, China's GDP is about five times that of India," the article pointed out.

“The more the Chinese nation is exposed to external pressures, the more it will be tightly united," it said adding: “As an ancient civilization, India is wise enough to avoid understanding China through biased US lens. It is in the interests of India to understand the real China and make correct and strategic judgments on this basis."

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