Begins by noting Defence Minster Nirmala Sitharaman’s surprise visit to Sikkim to inspect front-line troops and Indian media speculation that it was occasioned by stepped up deployment of troops on the Chinese side and signified a heightened state of alert on the Indian side. Noting the questioning of the veracity of these reports by the India side officially, the item categorically posits that China-India relations were not playing along a confrontational course again mentioning the contents of the video showing friendly exchanges between the Minster and Chinese soldiers released by the Ministry of Defence of India in great detail.
Folded hands greeting ceremony
Especially the Minister’s stepping in and over ruling Indian officers to allow Chinese soldiers time to guess the meaning of the Indian hands folded “Namaste” gesture, and her jocular observation that the words of greeting beginning with the letter ‘N’ both in Hindi and Chinese was a good omen.
“……….What signal did the visit of the Indian Defence Minister to the sensitive India-Chinese border area and, at the same time, friendly interaction with the Chinese military, convey ? Tsinghua University National Strategy Research Institute researcher, Qian Feng 8, told a “Global Times” reporter that the Defense Minster choice of the junction of Sikkim and China for inspection within a month of assuming office reflects the fact that this is the place of greatest concern for all this year. The objective would be, first, to affirm solidarity and sympathy with the soldiers and boost their morale and secondly to take a look at the scene first hand, listen carefully to the military’s reactions and suggestions and then convey the same to the Modi government so as to strengthen its border construction (plans) and specific policy recommendations. Modi himself had clearly reiterated the policy stance that India and China are not enemies in Xiamen, so the Indian Defense Minister’s visit to the border area and waving to China’s border soldiers was a manifestation of the position of Modi. And of the policy of maintaining status quo pending a solution of the border issue, controlling differences, exuding goodwill and strive hard to pull back the relationship between the two countries from the damage suffered in recent times and revert to the normal development track.
Indian media hype China’s road repair
“Sino-Indian relations have become unpredictable,” Germany’s Global News Network commented on the 8th during the Donglang confrontation between two countries. While observers speculated on the danger of war, the two countries suddenly eliminated the dispute, Modi attended the meeting of leaders of the BRIC countries held in Xiamen. Recently, the Indian media said China may have begun to build border roads, and that the Indian Defense Minister sudden visit to Sikkim was reported to be related to this. But the Indian woman Defense Minister on a border inspection went on to take pictures of exchanging greetings with the Chinese soldiers.
The Press Trust of India reported that the day before Sitharaman’s visit to Sikkim, the Indian Foreign Ministry had said there was no new development in the situation after the confrontation in Doklam and the nearby area since the end of August 28. India’s Foreign Ministry statement said, “status quo prevails in the region and any statement to the contrary is not correct.”
The statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India is aimed at certain media speculation about “a new round of confrontation”. New Delhi Television reported on the 5th that the Chinese army had returned to the Dong Lang plateau, accompanied by Chinese personnel, and began road expansion work in the vicinity of the area in a bid to strengthen Beijing’s presence (voice) in the Donglong area. It reported that the road project was located about 10 kilometers northeast of Donglang, and that more than 500 Chinese soldiers accompanied Chinese construction personnel while entering the area. However, India has not yet issued any objection or statement declaring its position.
According to a “Times of India” report of the 6th, the India’s Army prevented the PLA from extending its road to Jampheri ridge. And that China is now upgrading and expanding roads in the Dong Lang area. More than 1,000 Chinese troops remain in the confrontation area, only a 100 meters away. Furthermore, that after the confrontation, the PLA strength gradually reduced, but China did not dismantle their tents or nearby temporary shelters, and the road repair equipment is still near.
The United States, “Huffington Post” on the 6th also said that China continues to maintain military presence on a sizeable scale in the Dong Lang area, and has even begun to widen an existing road. Informed sources also said that China is slowly increasing the size of its Army in the Dong Lang plateau region, which may lead to further deterioration in the current situation because it would give India cause for concern. India’s biggest Opposition Party leader, Rahul Gandhi, has taken the news to compel Indian Prime Minister Modi to address/explain the relevant reports on China’s road repair.
As to the Indian media hype, Qian Feng considers that the Indian media tends to exaggerate things a little bit in order to gain attention. It always loves to write about the border issue. After the Dong Lang event this year, Sino-Indian relations were significantly weakened, So also the basis of civil public opinion, including the media’s mutual understanding and mutual trust, Media circles are more biased against China on this issue, and there is a huge market for anti-Chinese comment, But that does not mean it is India’s official position.
China-India border is not “explosive”
As to the recent reports in the Indian media that the Chinese Army in the Donglang area had restarted the road expansion work, the concerned informed persons told the “Global Times” reporter on the 8th that China was carrying out road maintenance works, which is normal. The allusion in Indian media to troops having been despatched to protect the road, and to large-scale road construction, was unfounded, reported, neither professional nor responsible, and devoid of the slightest professional ethics.
The source said that as a big power, China had to deal with the Sino-Indian border issue with full rationality and restraint, committed to maintaining peace in the border areas. On the other side, the way the Indian media reported developments, on the contrary, was nothing but careless, and provocative, triggering all kinds of emotions. This was not a good end.
The insider said that the Sino-Indian border issue was a historical issue and that a reasonable and mutually acceptable solution should be sought through equitable discussion. At present, although the border issue has not yet been resolved, there is no explosive situation, or an imminent war-like situation. It is hoped that the Indian media will not add oil and vinegar, and intensify contradictions, but be objective, calm, and rational.
Singapore “Lianhe Zaobao” said that according to scholars and as per details of the reports, the Chinese road expansion project is estimated to be carried out in China, and there is no dispute. The scholar also reminded that although China agreed to stop the road at the end of the confrontation, Beijing’s road construction in the border area is part of the border infrastructure planning, and the project would certainly be restarted in the future.
Concerned persons told the “Global Times” reporter said that the Indian Defense Minister’s visit to the Nathu La pass and other areas in the vicinity reflects the importance attached by the Indian government to the Sino-Indian border issue, Projecting victory is also for internal reasons, as indeed are assertions of sovereignty for the benefit of the international community. Of course, for the Chinese side too, it is not a bad thing, but demonstrates their good will.
Recently, India government officials have stepped up their visits to the border areas.”The Times of India” reported that on September 30th, India’s Interior Minister, Rajnath Singh, in the same interaction with border troops, spoke of the “possibility and necessity of the border dispute being resolved without any confrontation”. He also said that “the border issue be resolved through “structured dialogue”. The India Today website reported on the 6th that India’s Foreign Secretary, S. Jaishankar has led an official team to visit Bhutan to assess the situation. This is the first visit to Bhutan by top officials of India after the Dong Lang confrontation.
Some analysts believe that after the end of the confrontation, India continues to strengthen control of the border areas, and official visits to the border area have been taking place in wave after waves. But at the same time, given the many contradictions in India and India’s development needs, India also needs a peaceful and tranquil border and international environment. It cannot easily revert to hostility with China.