An article published by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has warned India not to escalate border tensions and learn from history. In its piece titled Expert: No winner in armed conflict, the website urges India to think rationally, and not test China’s self-restraint policy. In a further warning, the article warned that India “didn’t get the upper hand in the past. And it won’t get an advantage today when the Chinese military has made remarkable progress on modernization over the past few decades.”
Below is the the article in full:
The Indian border troops recently illegally crossed the border and entered the Donglang (Doklam) region in south Yatung County of Shigatse City in China’s Xizang Autonomous Region, drawing extensive attention.
Rejecting China’s request for India to learn from historical lessons and withdraw its troops as soon as possible, India’s finance minister and defense minister Arun Maharaj Kishen Jaitley claimed that India is no longer what it was in 1962.
Many Indians with vision say that it was a stupid option to let the China-India border issue escalate into confrontation because there is no winner in another armed conflict between two countries.
But the trespassing by Indian troops showed us that quite a number of people in India still hold on to the Cold War mentality, think from the geopolitical perspective, and choose to view China’s road construction in its own territory as a “threat” to India.
As the event fermented, many people wonder why China didn’t drive away the trespassing Indian troops by force since it was its legitimate right to build a road in its own territory.
It is believed that China has exercised self-restraint because it still adheres to the long-term state policy of good-neighborly friendliness and maintains the usual stance on handling China-India disputes.
History tells us that the Chinese military has never lost its temper easily and never fired the first shot. It didn’t even want to fight the 1962 Counterattack in Self-Defense on China-India Border at first, but wanted to settle the issue through peaceful negotiations because China and India used to be friends and had similar experience in fighting against imperialism and colonialism.
China didn’t want to do anything that “hurts friends and pleases enemies”, and only put up the counterattack at last when there was absolutely no other choice.
Similarly, armed expulsion of the trespassing Indian troops is the last resort that China want to take this time. So far, there is still room to settle this event in a peaceful way.
The Chinese foreign ministry lodged solemn representations to India several times both in Beijing and New Delhi, the channel of diplomatic communication between the two sides is unblocked, and it’s not completely impossible to settle the issue through dialogue.
But those in India who still uphold “confrontation” in this event should be fully aware of the fact that if a solution isn’t reached through diplomatic or military communication or the issue isn’t handled properly, another armed conflict between China and India is not completely out of the question.
Some Indians dare to provoke China and even claim that it’s not 1962 anymore probably because they don’t think China has military advantages at the border sector where the event took place.
They mistakenly think that India is able to revenge itself by using the favorable terrain and its advantageous mountain division and air force on the border.
But the India had better not forget the historical lesson.
In fact, after the 1962 Counterattack in Self-Defense on China-India, Indian troops made many provocations to Chinese border troops in Yatung (a frontier county situated in the mouth of the Chumbi valley near the China-India border) and Nathula (a mountain pass in the Himalayas which connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Xizang Autonomous Region) in 1965-1967.
With the conflict at Nathula and Daggi in September and October 1967 respectively reaching a peak, when the Indian side assigned its No.112 mountain infantry brigade and No.17 artillery brigade to attack Chinese troops stationed at Nathula mountain pass on the China-Sikkim border.
In self-defense, Chinese troops launched two destructive counterattacks against the Indian side. The Indian side didn’t get the upper hand in the past. And it won’t get an advantage today when the Chinese military has made remarkable progress on modernization over the past few decades.
China and India are the two largest developing countries in the world, and the importance of their peaceful co-existence and friendly cooperation is self-evident.
The China-India border issue is essentially a historical issue left by western colonialists. Before it is finally solved, the two governments and militaries should work toward the common goal of maintaining peace and stability in the border area.
Certain people in India should not get overexcited in their pursuit for regional and even global leadership, and make serious misjudgment about India’s strength and China’s bottom line, otherwise it will shoot itself in the foot.
Disclaimer: The article is written by Wang Dehua, head of the Institute of South and Central Asia, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, as well as director of South Asia Research Center, Tongji University. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn. Chinamil.com.cn does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.