A belligerent editorial in the Chinese Communist Party newspaper clarifies Beijing's position. Tensions have reignited between China and India near the border with Bhutan, on the Doklam plateau claimed by China. The armies have been facing off for about a month. India feels still surrounded.
Beijing (AsiaNews/News18) - The state-controlled media in China has kept up its rhetoric against India since the start of a military standoff in Doklam four weeks ago. It's latest attack is on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the “rise of Hindu nationalism”. Raising the bogey of an armed conflict, an editorial in Global Times said “religious nationalism” risks pushing India and China into another war.
“Nationalist fervor that demands revenge against China has taken root in India since the border war. The election of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fueled the country's nationalist sentiments. Modi took advantage of rising Hindu nationalism to come to power.... The border row this time is an action targeted at China that caters to the demand of India's religious nationalists,” the opinion-editorial said.
It claimed that the 1962 war had led to “an ingrained suspicion of Chinese strategy”. “India harbors deep strategic suspicion toward China…. For a long time, it has hyped that China is pursuing what is called the "String of Pearls" to encircle India. Despite China's goodwill in inviting India to join the Belt and Road initiative, India insists on interpreting the project as a part of China's strategic containment and encirclement of it.”
The Belt and Road initiative is believed to be a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping. New Delhi has opposed the project which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and skipped its big launch in Beijing earlier this year. China has been ratcheting up rhetoric against India in the recent weeks following the face-off between the armies of the two nation in the Bhutan tri-junction. The face-off was triggered when Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the area.
China claimed that they were constructing the road within their territory and has been demanding immediate pull-out of the Indian troops from the disputed Dokalam plateau. New Delhi has expressed concern over the road building, apprehending that it may allow Chinese troops to cut India's access to its northeastern states.
India has conveyed to the Chinese government that the road construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for it.
Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region. Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.