China: Indian, Chinese diplomats must prevent war: Chinese expert

BEIJING: War between India and China over Doklam is a possibility and diplomats from both sides must prevent an armed conflict, a Chinese expert has said.

Long Xingchun, a research fellow at The Charhar Institute and director of the Center for Indian Studies at China West Normal University, said there were “precedents of the unnecessary war in the past” and the looming one between India and China will harm both countries.

Long also said it was wrong to think that China was using the Doklam border stand-off for the Communist Party of China National Congress to be held later this year.

“A war is not completely impossible. There is a great deal of precedents of unnecessary battles fought at the completely wrong time and place. So far, it is the prime goal of diplomats of both sides to prevent a war that neither wants,” Long wrote in the Global Times.

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in over a month long stand-off in Doklam, which is at a tri-junction of India, Bhutan and China.

India wants the issue to be resolved diplomatically, but China says the withdrawal of troops by India is a precondition for talks.

“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.”

Long also slammed Indian journalists in China and Indian experts on China for blaming Beijing and state-run media for stoking tensions.

Chinese media and experts have launched a blitzkrieg against India and called for war.

“China doesn’t want a war. Many Indian media outlets and analysts put all the blame on China for the stand-off and conclude that China had plotted to provoke the conflict in an attempt to divert attention from its internal problems.

“The reports even related the face-off to the 19th Communist Party of China National Congress to be held later this year. This bookish analysis reflects what little knowledge of China some Indian media and scholars have.”

He said there were not more than 200 China experts in India of which only 10 per cent can read or speak Chinese.

“Regrettably, it is these people that shape India’s understanding and judgment of China.”

“China does have many domestic problems, nonetheless they are no more serious than what’s facing India internally. In fact, to prepare for the 19th Party Congress, China needs domestic harmony and a peaceful international environment rather than conflict, a point which may be hard for Indians to understand,” he writes.

“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. In this case, India will have its economic momentum disrupted and lose its opportunities to rise.”

India has blamed China for trying to change the status of the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction, and ruled out unilateral withdrawal of Indian troops.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj last week said that China’s attempt to build a road through Bhutan posed a security challenge to India.

On China’s insistence that India withdraw troops from Doklam, she said: “India wants that all troops are removed from the tri-junction point before discussing the issue together. All countries, including Bhutan, are with us.”

The matter is expected to feature in talks between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart State Councillor Yang Jiechi when they meet on July 27-28 in Beijing at a NSAs meet from BRICS countries.

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