China resolute in protecting sovereignty at Indian borders

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/3 0:23:40

War possible if conflict between two countries ‘not handled properly’

China will resolutely safeguard its border sovereignty in conflicts with Indian troops even at the cost of war, Chinese experts said.

India's defense ministry is surveying the China-India border in order to build an "all-weather railway corridor network" along the border, the India Today newspaper reported Friday, saying that a senior railway board official said the idea behind the corridors is to construct broad-gauge connectivity for the swift movement of troops and ammunition.

Three of the four corridors are reportedly in the South Tibet area and the fourth is located in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir along the China border.

"India is trying to catch up with China in the construction of frontier defense," Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times.

India's plan to build the corridor network is also a result of the recent conflict along the two countries' border, experts said.

China's Ministry of National Defense said Indian troops crossed the border with China in June in an attempt to block China's road construction in the Donglang area on the Chinese side.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang on Thursday asked India to respect China's sovereignty and withdraw the troops which entered the Chinese side of the Sikkim section of the border.

The Donglang area belongs to China, which has been proven by history and law, Lu told a  press conference, adding that "China's road construction in the Donglang area is legitimate, and any other party has no right to interfere."

'Stop dangerous clamor'

Senior Colonel Wu Qian, deputy director of the Information Office of China's Ministry of National Defense, said on Thursday that a "particular individual in the Indian Army could learn lessons from the past and stop such dangerous clamor for war," when asked for his comments on an Indian media report on June 8 that Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat said that India is prepared for a "two and a half front war" against China, Pakistan and its internal security threats.

In response to Wu's remarks, on Friday, India's Defense Minister Arun Jaitely asserted that the India of 2017 is different from what it was in 1962, the Press Trust of India reported.

In 1962, China fought a war with India after the latter encroached on Chinese territory, resulting in the deaths of 722 Chinese troops and 4,383 Indian soldiers.

"China is also different from what it was in 1962," said Wang Dehua, a professor at the Shanghai Municipal Center for International Studies, adding that India has been treating China as its biggest competitor since 1962, as both countries share many similarities. For instance, they are both developing countries with huge populations.

There could be a chance of war if the recent conflict between China and India is not handled properly, observers said, noting that China will resolutely defend its territory and safeguard the border.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the US on June 26 and met with President Donald Trump in the White House, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

However, experts noted that, even in the event of a China-India war, the US is unlikely to directly get involved, though it may sell weapons to India.

Experts called on both sides to resolve the conflict through dialogue and negotiations.

"Both sides should focus on development rather than conflict or war," Zhao said, adding that a conflict between the two may give other countries a chance to take advantage, for example, the US.

India should change its hostile attitude toward China, said Wang, as a good relationship is beneficial for both sides.

India did not attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was held in May in Beijing. India will deprive itself of huge benefits if it stays out of the inter-continental, collaborative agenda mooted by China and endorsed by large parts of the world, Sudheendra Kulkarni, the chairman of the Observer Research Foundation Mumbai, previously told the Global Times, noting that the Belt and Road initiative is going to be "the most powerful economic growth engine in world history."

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