Indian media hype of Chinese soldiers’ incursion reflects hysteria, hinders military disengagement: observers
Published: Dec 21, 2020 08:48 PM
Chinese soldiers guard a China-India border crossing at Nathu La Pass. Photo:VCG

With China and India engaging in multiple rounds of talks through military and diplomatic channels to push forward a solution to their longstanding border row, Indian media driven by malicious intent on Monday came up with new claims of "Chinese soldiers' crossing" into Changthang village in the Nyoma area, east of Leh in Ladakh on the Indian side, before they were "forced" out, all of which were based on speculation over a viral video that made the rounds among local residents.

Chinese observers said they are not surprised by this typical show of Indian media's hysterical tarnishing of China and its army.

Without seeking any official confirmation or even comment from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), India's border control organization in the area where the incident was alleged to have taken place, Times of India (TOI) claimed Monday that "Chinese soldiers in civilian clothes were apparently objecting to the local nomads allowing their cattle to graze in the area."

Indian media's hype of the incident is very malicious and hinders the current progress of disengagement between the two militaries, Qian Feng, a scholar of Indian studies and director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Monday, adding that the Chinese personnel could not have been People's Liberation Army soldiers, but were local civilian officials.

If the relevant report was anywhere near the truth, the Indian government and military would not have remained silent on the matter, he said.

The TOI story did not go into detail on exactly when and where the incident occurred, but claimed that the video clearly showed the "incursion by Chinese soldiers into Indian territory" went viral after it was filmed by locals there. The video was the only source of the TOI report.

Times Now, an English news channel in India owned and operated by The Times Group, which also covered the incident on Monday, reported that it occurred three days earlier, and the two vehicles were carrying about eight Chinese civilians when they crossed into the Changthang area, citing the same footage. 

The Times Now report said only that the Chinese civilians could be "military intelligence," without directly referring to them as soldiers.

From the video in the report, two sides, the majority of who were from the Indian side, engaged in dialogue, before the two vehicles drove away. There is no sign of physical confrontation or even an aggressive exchange of words.

"India does not want to escalate the confrontation… But we will not allow any compromise of integrity and security of the Indian nation," a reporter said in the Times Now live coverage. 

It is normal for Chinese civilian officials to engage in dialogue with local nomad communities to urge them not to cross the border to graze their cattle. The hype of their military identity shows Indian media's hysterical tradition of tarnishing China and distorting the facts, Qian noted.

China and India held their 20th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) on Friday, and diplomatic, defense and immigration department delegations from the two sides also participated in the meeting, according to a release from the Chinese Foreign Ministry website.

The two sides agreed to maintain close consultations at diplomatic and military levels, and work toward ensuring complete disengagement on the frontline and jointly safeguard security and peace in the border area, it said. 

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