Li Feiyu, Beijing & Rupa Debroy , Delhi
China, through its hardline state-owned publication, has warned India to be “careful” and not to get involved in the Washington-Beijing rivalry developing into a new Cold War”.
An article in The Global Times said that there have been some voices calling for the Indian government to join the new Cold War and exploit its position for more gains.
“Such irrational voices are nothing but misleading, which should not represent the mainstream voices and sway the Indian government’s stance. Fundamentally speaking, India has little to gain from engaging in a US-China conflict over any topic, with more to lose than gain, which is why the Modi government needs to face the new geopolitical development objectively and rationally,” the article said.
Indian and Chinese armies have moved heavy weapons at several flashpoints along the Line of Actual Control or LAC in Ladakh and North Sikkim after unarmed hand-to-hand clashes in early May .
The beefed-up military build-up by both armies is sren as a clear signal of escalating tension and hardening of positions by the two sides even nearly a month after they were engaged in two separate face-offs.
Military commanders and diplomats have so far failed to break the ice , leading to suggestions for a Modi- Xi video confetence to resolve the impasse.
India has said the Chinese military was obstructing normal patrolling by its troops along the LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim.
It has also rubbished Beijing’s allegations that the tension between the two armies was triggered by trespassing of Indian forces across the Chinese side.
Indian army say the Chinese have actually intruded at several ppints in Ladakh and pitched tents in areas India saw as its own.
Both Airforces were flying observation sorties , the Chinese from their Hotan airbase where Pakistani pilots were trained on Chinese JF-17 Thunder fighters and the Indians from Leh.
US President Donald Trump had also offered to “mediate or arbitrate” the border dispute and said he was “ready, willing and able” to ease the tensions.
But both Asian neighbours rejected the offer.
China asked India to be careful not to include the US factor in its handling of any problem in its relations with China.
“Otherwise it will only complicate the issue. The offer of US mediation is unnecessary and the last thing both sides could use. China and India have the ability to resolve their problems, and there is no need for any third-party intervention,” said a Chinese foreign office spokesperson.
Threatening New Delhi with snapping of economic ties, the ‘Global Times” report said : “If in a new Cold War, India leans toward the US or becomes a US pawn attacking China, the economic and trade ties between the two Asian neighbors will suffer a devastating blow. And it would be too much for the Indian economy to take such a hit at the current stage.”
Citing the increasing coronavirus cases and the recession forecast, the Chinese commentator said that the “crippling Indian economy cannot afford any more shocks”.
It “advised” New Delhi to “always view the India-China relations with rational minds instead of being lured by domestic nationalist sentiment”.
The ‘Global Times’ is often used by the Chinese government and thevruling Communist Party as a ‘psyops spearhead’ to cow down rival nations or those tending to step out of the line.
But the Chinese Foreign Office expressed optimism about the crisis moving towards resolution.
Commenting on the standoff between the Indian Army and the PLA , Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, “diplomatic and military communication channels between China and India on the border issue are open.”He said the issue will be resolved soon.
“We believe that the two sides can properly resolve the issue through dialogue and consultations,” he said.
Analysts say China cannot afford a war now with much of the world against it but it would continue to cajole, browbeat or badger countries like India who have strategic relationships with the US.