[This editorial appeared in the English language edition of the Global Times a day earlier, i.e. on January 16, 2018 under the title “Indian army must tone down hawkish rhetoric”. Differences between the English version and the Chinese version below are highlighted in the usual strike-through/italics format — words/phrases in the English version that do not figure in the Chinese one below are indicated by a strike-through, while words/phrases added in the Chinese version additionally (i.e. which do not figure in the English version) are indicated in italics below.]
Since the beginning of 2018, the Indian army has made harsh comments on China from time to time. Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat said last week that India needs to shift focus to the border with China. India’s Eastern Command chief Lieutenant General Abhay Krishna said its army is very well prepared
everywhere “everywhere” and gave a nationalistic description of an ordinary incident that happened recently on the border with China.
After the Doklam standoff, the Indian army has been active in border areas. It decided to enhance infrastructure along the border and will deploy helicopters in disputed border regions. In doing so, India has shown a keen interest in blocking China’s infrastructure construction in the border area.Meanwhile the Indian media has been magnifying everything obtained from the military, applauding hawkish army remarks and fabricating scenes of China infringing upon and provoking India.
Yet all these reports are incongruent with the Indian external affairs ministry’s judgment that the status quo prevailed on the border.
Coordinated interactions between the Indian army and media have fed many Indians’ negative impressions of China. This
deviates far from seriously contradicts the consensus reached by Chinese and Indian leaders that the two countries will properly manage their disputes and put bilateral ties back on the track of healthy and stable development.
In learning about China, Indian society has been misled by the military’s selfish desire to enlarge its budget and gain bigger clout in the country’s foreign relations, and its media’s market orientation toward eye-catching reports. As a result, a hard-line approach to China is
political correctness “political correctness” in India and the inherent thrust of the country is being pushed to side with the US, Japan and Australia is enhanced.
Rawat said last week that India can’t allow its neighbors to
drift away “drift away” to China. This mentality that sees neighbors as an Indian domain “Indian domain” is widely adopted in New Delhi. One can not but say that India, keen on playing the role of a big power, is still diplomatically rather immature, with a self-centered approach and (only) a vague awareness of the principles of morality and power in international relations, and a preference for impulsive nationalism. Dealing with this country requires more than one set of rules. In dealing with this country, it is difficult to adhere to one set of rules till the end; it is easy to get derailed mid-way.
On tactics for dealing with India, we believe that China needs first, to adhere to its principles and second, to refrain from wrangling. China needs neither to intrude nor to withdraw. It should handle all kinds of border disputes in accordance with
laws legal principles, taking the basic objective to be to maintain border peace and tranquility, and meanwhile firmly hit back at Indian army provocations so as to thwart any kind of (evil) design of the Indian side.
India and China share neighbors, and surely their interests and influence will overlap in some areas. (N.B. This sentence succinctly sums up the idea elaborated at some length in the Chinese editorial, so the text has not being translated literally.) Beijing needs to communicate more with New Delhi to
make the latter less anxious strategically dispel/allay the latter’s strategic misgivings. The two countries It should make it their a common goal of the two countries to avoid strategic conflicts in the neighboring region. India should realize that it can’t build South Asia must (ought) not (to) be its (India’s) exclusive (“touch-me-not”) domain toward China or other big powers, or India cannot apply the Monroe Doctrine in South Asia. This understanding requires that India, on its part, establishes itself gradually and China to be aware of the very likely sensitivities on the Indian side while developing relations with South Asian countries. Also, China should be willing to act to assuage India’s vigilance against Beijing developing relations with South Asian nations and alleviate the (adverse) impact on India as much as possible. But India is in no position to ask China to stay away from South Asia and we should make this clear to it through intense diplomatic communication.
China has no intention of infringing the territorial sovereignty of India. The border dispute between the two countries is left behind by history. China is willing to resolve the issue through peaceful negotiations, provided that India also refrains from any unilateral provocation. However, the Indian army seems to have failed to learn its lesson from the Doklam standoff. China needs to warn the Indian Army. If India continues making provocations, it should expect harsh punishment from the Chinese army sooner or later.
China’s national power is several times greater than that of India. Confronting China will entail an unsustaibnable strategic cost for India. New Delhi should cherish the amicable policy adopted by Beijing. Who in Chinese and Indian society does not treasure goodwill and friendship between the two countries ? China and India should not have to face censure for being incited to act against their own interests. We know that Indian civil servants have sufficient authority to restrain public statements and actions of the generals in that country. We expect them to do the same and will consider this as a “touchstone” for New Delhi’s willingness to develop the good-neighborly relations between China and India.