India military learned nothing from last year’s clash: observers
Published: Oct 10, 2021 11:33 PM
History justifies China's claim to South Tibet: FM

Zangnan are in southern Xizang (South Tibet). Photo: Xinhua 

 Two soldiers from a special combat brigade under the Tibet Military Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army take an oath during a Party admission ceremony on a plateau near the China-India border. Photo: Courtesy of Wang Shudong

Two soldiers from a special combat brigade under the Tibet Military Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army take an oath during a Party admission ceremony on a plateau near the China-India border. Photo: Courtesy of Wang Shudong

The Indian military not only obstructed a routine patrol by Chinese border troops, it also fabricated rumor that "Chinese soldiers were detained for crossing the borderline" via the mouthpiece of the Indian media, a thief crying "stop thief" trick that Chinese analysts said exposes that India side has learned nothing from last year's border skirmish and should be held culpable for the latest incident. 

The latest incident broke a relatively calm period on the China-India border, and as China and India are about to engage in another round of high-level military talks. Chinese experts warned the Indian army and media to not mistake China's restraints over such rumors as tolerance for slander. 

India media News18 cited government sources as saying on Friday that the Indian army temporarily detained a few Chinese troops in Zangnan area of southern Xizang (Tibet) for "incursion" in this area. Yet it was slammed by the China Daily, who cited a Chinese military source as saying the report is "purely fabricated."

The Chinese military source said Chinese border troops conducted a routine patrol on September 28 in the Dongzhang area on the Chinese side of the Sino-Indian border and encountered "unreasonable obstruction" from the Indian military. The Chinese officers and soldiers took countermeasures resolutely and returned after the patrol mission was completed.

The China-India border has been peaceful for some time, while the incident in the Dongzhang area, where the Indian army obstructed the Chinese border troop's routine patrol, shows India's deliberate provocation and distortion of facts as it did last year, Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times.

Qian said it is India that is breaching previous agreements reached by Beijing and New Delhi. And that it continues hyping Chinese "crossing the borderline" has shown the Indian side has learned nothing since last year's clash, and is fully culpable for this incident.

China's border regions with India have been facing pressure of being encroached by the Indian side. For instance in 2001, Indian troops tore down a bridge leading to a holy waterfall in Dongzhang region in Shannan city of Xizang, where Chinese residents could take water there, and set up a military checkpoint by the river, local border defense police told the Global Times in a previous interview. Indian troops were also garrisoned at a grassland in Dongzhang, driving Chinese herders out. 

At southeastern region of Xizang, villagers told the Global Times that Indian troops and residents have crossed border several times. The Indians have been trying to "claim their existence" by painting slogans on big rocks. "Every time we see such slogans, we clean up and write Chinese on the rocks," said a Chinese villager.

Some parts of the China-India border are unmarked. With the intention of eroding Chinese territory and bargaining with China in future Sino-Indian border talks, India has been consistently provoking small troubles at the border and increasing troop numbers, infringing upon China's territory and sovereignty, said an anonymous military expert.

But Chinese troops would not step back in any circumstances. "If we step back a centimeter today, it means the shrinkage of the national territory. This is absolutely unacceptable!" Li Xin, the political instructor of a border defense battalion, told the Global Times. "If there is an enemy who wants to infringe upon our territory or sovereignty, he would have to cross my dead body!" Huang Xinyu, a young border defense soldier in Xizang said.

The Indian media's hype comes as China and India are reportedly entering the 13th round of Corps Commander-level talks. The talks have not been confirmed by the Chinese side. 

Qian predicted the talks will concentrate on resolving confrontational issue on the western section of the border. Since the two armies started disengaging in Pangong Tso in February, confrontation in major places has been smoothed, which helps maintain the stability of the border area, Qian said. 

Yet experts warned the incident in Dongzhang will poison the atmosphere of border talks.

"The Indian government, military and media habitually pick up and hype border issues before talks between the two armies… to test the Chinese side's bottom line and to flame domestic opinion," said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

"They intend to create an illusion for the Indian public that the Indian army is taking the upper hand in everything," Zhao said.

Jun Zhengping Studio, a commentary session run by the People's Liberation Army Daily said on Sunday that Indian media hyping the so-called Chinese troops crossing the borderline is "despicable." 

It warned that India has developed a tendency to hype the China-India border issue, but these actions are harmful to others and itself. The border situation is heading toward a controllable direction, and said it hoped the Indian media would be honest at least, and make less troubles that could further harm bilateral ties

Chinese experts noted that the Chinese side has exercised restraints, and only published authoritative information, in the hope of maintaining a harmonious atmosphere for the two countries to resolve the border issue. 

Twenty Indian soldiers died in a China-India border confrontation in the Galwan Valley in June 2020. This is the worst border conflict between the two countries in nearly 45 years. 

China revealed in February this year that four Chinese soldiers died in the clash, and another frontier officer was severely injured. 

Zhao stressed that China's restraints should not be interpreted as tolerance for slander, and suggested China should lodge representations over the India media and military's constant hyping and misreporting of border issues. 

A few days ago, a group of unverified photos, taken at an unknown location and time, show that several lines of people, said to be the Indian Army, were escorted by formations of soldiers well-equipped with bulletproof vests, helmets, shields who seemed to be in PLA uniforms in a rocky, valley terrain.

According to the photos, the alleged Indian soldiers held by the PLA were disarmed, wore unified clothing and seemed to be in low morale. Some of them were wounded and were using bandages.

One of the photos, circulating particularly widely on social media, gave a close-up look on one of the alleged Indian personnel, who suffered a bruised eye and face. He raised to the camera what seems to be a piece of paper or document, with a red fingerprint on some writings unreadable due to the limited definition of the photo, seemingly submitting to the PLA.

The photos were not published by Chinese authorities or official media outlets, and it remains unknown who posted them or for what purposes, as well as their authenticity.