Chinese PLA soldiers cross border with India? Indian media are habitual in hyping the topic: observers
Published: Sep 29, 2021 09:32 PM


After Indian media reported that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had crossed the border, Chinese observers noted the media there is habitual in hyping the border issue in India and spreading such information right after the Quad summit aims to depict a confrontational India-China relation, catering to the West. 

The India-based Economic Times, citing an anonymous insider of India's security authorities, reported Tuesday that more than 100 PLA soldiers with 55 horses crossed the border with India's Barahoti and "damaged some infrastructure, including a bridge" on August 30. The PLA left before Indian troops arrived and there were no face-offs, it reported.

The Indian Express, also on Tuesday, reported that the Indian army is deploying mounted artillery systems, which will be easier to maneuver in high-terrain areas, as a result of the border stand-off with China.

India ordered 145 ultra-light M-777 howitzer towed guns for nearly $750 million in 2016 from the US. More than half of the ordered guns have been delivered, Director-General of Artillery Lt Gen TK Chawla said. 

Chawla told reporters that these guns would be part of seven regiments, and three of them are already operational. The artillery is deployed along the Line of Actual Control. "They give that extra advantage of mobility due to their weight," Chawla said. He also added that "the training is going on in moving guns from one sector to another with the Chinook helicopters," reported the express.

Zhao Gancheng told the Global Times that though the region is a disputed area, it is not a hot spot, therefore attention should be paid to the timing of Indian media releasing the information. 

India has been active internationally, Zhao said, citing the just concluded Quad summit and India's first "2+2" meetings with Australia.

"New Delhi is the most marginal member of the Quad and it is eager to underline its role via hyping confrontational China-India relations, which also serves the US' needs, Zhao said.

Indian media has been coordinating closely with its government, including sensitive topics in China-India relations. When the government mulls something, it asks the media to spread the most sensitive and sensational information, the expert said. 

Qian Feng, a research fellow at the National Strategy Institute of Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that the region Indian media hyped this time has a low possibility of a stand-off or frictions in comparison to other more sensitive areas [therefore] the authenticity of the report is doubtful. "There is a higher chance that Indian media hyped the topic to create border tensions," Qian said. 

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with the Indian Minister of External Affairs in Tajikistan on September 16, where both sides agreed to push the stabilization of the situation and transition the emergency response to normalized management to protect peace and stability at the border.

Qian noted that some Indian media are habitual in rumormongering on the China-India border topic out of political or commercial purposes. 

As for the M-777 howitzers, Qian said it is part of India's military reform and also out of reality as it seeks to maintain military balance at the border areas. 

After the stand-off last year, India was surprised at the imbalance in strength between the two militaries and reflected on its insufficient deployment at the borders. That is the fundamental reason why India has to commission the troops with M-777s and other new equipment, as India needs to make up for the lack of long-range firepower and mountain combat capabilities, Qian said.

At Wednesday's press conference of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spokesperson Hua Chunying noted India has been illegally crossing the line to erode Chinese territory, which is the source of tensions on the China-India borders. 

China opposes an arms race aimed at expanding military control in disputed areas, is firmly safeguarding Chinese territorial sovereignty and security and at the same time committed to maintaining peace and stability in the border areas between China and India, Hua said.