Indian troops’ provocation brings disgrace to themselves. Chinese and Indian soldiers are locked in a face-off at the Sikkim section of the China-India border after Indian troops crossed the boundary and entered Chinese territory.
Responding to India’s accusation that Chinese soldiers made an incursion into the Indian side to do construction work, the usually low-profile Chinese authorities on Monday criticized the Indian side for violating the consensus on border issues and agreements between the two governments, seriously endangering peace along the border areas.
The Indian government made no objection to the Sikkim section of the China-India border. Allegations of intrusions along the western section of the China-India border often emerge, but face-offs in the Sikkim section are rare. The Nathu La Pass in Sikkim was reopened in 2006, because there is no border dispute between China and India over this area.
It remains unclear whether this flare-up is the fault of low-level Indian troops or a tentative strategic move made by the Indian government. Whatever the motive, China must stick to its bottom line. It must force the Indian troops to retreat to the Indian side by all means necessary, and China’s road construction mustn’t be stopped.
The fact that the US and West are willing to woo India to counterbalance China has particularly added to Indians’ sense of strategic superiority.
Some Indians believe the US and Japan are building a circle to contain China, and India has an advantage over China by choosing whether to join this circle. Therefore, they can indulge themselves on issues including border disputes, while China has no choice but to make concessions.
As the China-India borderline hasn’t been demarcated completely and the two countries have a different understanding about the Line of Actual Control, troops from both sides often stray across in some areas. However, almost all frictions are fed to the Indian media by the Indian military which they hype time and again.
China avoids making an issue of border disputes, which has indulged India’s unruly provocations. This time the Indian side needs to be taught the rules.
India cannot afford a showdown with China on border issues. It lags far behind China in terms of national strength and the so-called strategic support for it from the US is superficial.
China has no desire to confront India. Maintaining friendly ties with New Delhi is Beijing’s basic policy. But this must be based on mutual respect. It’s not the time for India to display arrogance toward China. India’s GDP is only one-quarter of China’s and its annual defense budget is just one-third. Having a friendly relationship and cautiously handling border issues with China is its best choice.
By Global Times