War between India, China not completely impossible: Chinese expert

China has urged India to take “practical steps to correct its mistake” and meet China halfway in jointly safeguarding the border region’s peace and tranquility

Photo courtesy: Facebook
Photo courtesy: Facebook

NH Web Desk

While a Chinese expert has predicted that a war between India and China is not “completely impossible”, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian has asserted that “India should not leave things to luck and not harbour any unrealistic illusions”.

Amid a standoff with India in the Sikkim sector, he said on Monday that China will safeguard its security interests at “any cost” as its sovereignty was “indomitable.”

His comments came as NSA Ajit Doval is set to travel to Beijing this week to attend the BRICS NSAs meeting scheduled to be held from July 27 to 28 during which he is expected to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi. Both Doval and Yang are Special Representatives of the two countries in the boundary talks.

Speaking ahead of the 90th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), Qian said that the PLA has taken emergency measures in the region and continues to increase focussed deployments and drills. “We strongly urge India to take practical steps to correct its mistake, cease provocations, and meet China halfway in jointly safeguarding the border region's peace and tranquillity.”

Last week, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told Rajya Sabha that China intends to unilaterally change the status of the tri-junction with Bhutan, which poses a challenge to India's security.

Meanwhile, Long Xingchun, a research fellow at The Charhar Institute and director of the Center for Indian Studies at China West Normal University said in an article titled New Delhi didn’t draw lesson from 1962 border war, published by the Global Times, that “If India fights a large-scale war with China now, it will not only scare away foreign investment, but also disrupt India's economy. Even if a war is brief, China and India may still be locked in a standoff for a long time.”

The border standoff between Chinese and Indian troops has lasted for more than five weeks. There are widespread worries that the standoff may escalate into an armed conflict.

Claiming that war is not completely impossible, Long writes in Global Times, “it is the prime goal of diplomats of both sides to prevent a war that neither wants. To this end, they must not bluff. The 1962 war, triggered as India operated the Forward Policy, has left Indians hostile toward China for decades. A larger war today may give rise to strong animosity between the two sides for centuries.”

“There are no more than 200 China experts in India, of which 10 percent, at most, can read or speak Chinese. Most of these experts study China based on publications from the US and Europe and a few English publications published by China, but sadly they believe that they have been well informed about China,” he claims, and goes on to add: “Indian reporters in China barely understand Chinese. Some of them even describe the neighbour as ‘Communist China,’ which feels like a term from 40 years ago. Regrettably, it is these people that shape India's understanding and judgment of China.”

“Even if the standoff is resolved diplomatically, it has already crippled the bilateral relationship. This will have a long-term impact on Sino-Indian ties,” he says in the article, and adds: “But there is also a silver lining if the two sides can dispel their misunderstandings through communication and take measures to enhance official and people-to-people exchanges, so as to improve bilateral ties.”

(With PTI inputs)

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