Strong military deterrent needed to stop Indian illegal crossing of LAC
We call India a friendly neighbor. India is a big country in South Asia with a population of 1.3 billion and is one of the major emerging market economies in the world. Frankly speaking, for decades, China has been very patient in making friends with India. In recent years, China has paid more attention to the development of comprehensive and pragmatic cooperation with India.
In 2018, China's President Xi Jinping invited India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Wuhan in China, to hold the first informal meeting. In 2019, President Xi Jinping visited Chennai, India, to hold the second informal meeting with Narendra Modi. With a new diplomatic mode, China opened up the development of China-India relations in a new era and the two sides reached important consensuses on important issues of historical significance.
China-India relations had just recovered from the trauma of the confrontation in Dong Lang Village on June 18, 2017, and then on June 15, 2020, a serious physical clash occurred in the Galwan Valley, resulting in the tragic death of 20 Indian troops in the cold high-altitude area.
But India has not learned the ‘bloody’ lesson, and has continued to illegally cross the Line of Actual Control (LAC), aggravating the military confrontation and pushing border tensions to new heights.
On August 31, Indian troops illegally crossed the LAC in the south bank of Bangong Lake and near the Reqin Pass in an attempt to occupy territory controlled by China. On September 7, Indian troops illegally crossed the LAC and blatantly threatened the patrolling Chinese personnel on the Chinese side of the border firing guns in the air, which broke the record of ‘no gunfire’ in the past 45 years on the China-India border. They seriously violated the two border agreements signed by the two countries in 1993 and 1996 respectively, and abandoned the consensus reached in the recent meetings between the two sides. The consequences are going to be very serious.
Indian troops keep illegally crossing the LAC in an attempt to occupy more and more Chinese territory, and border tension is rising. At the same time, high-level meetings and diplomatic and military negotiations between China and India are being held intensively. On September 4, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting in Moscow. On September 10, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar met in Moscow and reached a five-point consensus.
It is difficult to understand why so many high-level consensuses have not worked, and the border area is still very tense. The face-to-face military confrontation may lead to new conflicts or even unexpected incidents at any time.
When dealing with Indians, the Chinese should understand them. Some Indians are very strange. Dealing with Indians for decades left me with two impressions: The first is that some Indians have always been ‘take all, no give’. As a result, the more they want to take, the more they lose.The second feature is that some Indians, because of colonial rule for nearly 200 years, have slavish genes and worship Westerners with great admiration. They do not pay much attention to the Chinese who live next to them.
There is a story of a Chinese who wants to make friends with an Indian. The Indian looks down on the Chinese and always bullies him. In desperation, the Chinese knocked the Indian to the ground and gave him a good thrashing. The Indian realized how powerful the Chinese was, stood up, removed the dust from his clothes, and respectfully saluted the Chinese. From then on, they became very good friends.
China has been committed to making friends with India, including the defense counterattack in 1962. The war in 1962 subdued India and won 58 years of peace and tranquility along the China-India border.
At a meeting with Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on September 4, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said strongly: China's territory cannot be lost, and the Chinese military is fully determined, capable, and confident of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It seems that to be indulgent and tolerant is not suitable for India. In order to maintain the general direction of friendly cooperation between China and India, and to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas between the two countries, we need to make full military preparations. We need to deal with the Indians in a language that Indians understand. Without a strong military deterrent, Indian troops will not stop illegal crossings of the LAC to occupy Chinese territory.
Cheng Xizhong, visiting professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, senior fellow of the Charhar Institute, former Defense Attache in South Asian countries.