India should match conciliatory words about Doklam face-off with concrete actions

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/22 20:08:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday, "There will be a solution of Doklam issue very soon … I want to tell all the neighbors that India wants peace, not any confrontation." He further said, "In life, one can change friends, but one can't change neighbors."

Singh also said that he believed China will make a positive move and "no one would dare raise eyes toward India." Foreign media contended that Singh has softened his tone.

Singh did not further illustrate what the resolution could be. But if his latest statement means that India is rationally responding to requests from Chinese, the trajectory of the situation is worth our attention.

The border standoff between China and India in the Doklam area came about all of a sudden.

Although friction at the border occasionally occurred, the two have kept bilateral differences under control. Expanding communications and developing cooperation have been the norm in Sino-Indian relations in the past few years. But the trespassing of Indian troops has shocked China.

The China-India confrontation in Doklam has driven a deep wedge between the two nations. The Chinese public became aware of the unjustified influence and control of India on South Asian countries such as Bhutan. They also got to know the chaos in northeastern India and the Siliguri Corridor. The Chinese people also saw the flaming nationalism of Indian society and how the Indian media and politicians pointed their fingers at another country.

Singh said New Delhi will tell all its neighboring countries that India wants peace. We could hear such words from Indian officials, but did not see their actions. Indian troops that trespassed onto the Chinese territory are still there. This goes contrary to India's "peace-loving" claim.

Singh's speech is considered by foreign media as the most positive stance by New Delhi since the border standoff between China and India. It remains to be seen whether India will disappoint international opinion.

There are many rules in the engagement between major powers. Due to their strengths, once a military conflict occurs, they need to bear huge consequences. Therefore, major powers need to be prudent and flexible when competing with others. If India views itself as a major power, it should draw lessons from its rash behaviors.

China is a real peace-loving country. When its territory is intruded upon and it is able to expel the Indian troops with military means, it still resorts to peaceful solutions. A major power does not want a show of strength, but real solutions to problems.

It is hoped that India could show self-esteem and withdraw its troops by abiding by international rules. The earlier it does that, the less risky the border situation will become. If India is ambitious to become a major power, it should not be hijacked by its twisted nationalism and enter into a strategic confrontation with China that it couldn't handle. The peace between China and India is based on obeying the rules.

The article is an editorial of the Chinese edition of the Global Times Tuesday. Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion


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