Amid reports of Chinese military intrusions into India, a leading state-run Chinese newspaper on Thursday accused the Indian media of trying to present a "bleak picture" of the Sino-India relations by raising "war rhetoric" and sowing "seeds of enmity" between the two countries.
"If you are a regular reader of reports in the Indian media, you can be excused for thinking a war is imminent between India and China. For the past few months, the Indian media have been trying to fan passions on both sides," the China Daily said in a editorial.
"Instead of informing, inspiring and trying to find the truth, it is trying to throttle professional ethics to raise the war rhetoric and sow seeds of enmity between the two peoples," the paper said.
The editorial came two days after Beijing officially denied reports that its border guards had intruded into Ladakh in India and painted boulders and rocks red there.
"A bleak picture of Sino-India relations - which is farthest from reality - is what a section of the Indian media wants to present to its readers," the paper charged noting that some "alarmists even predicted China will attack India by 2012" to divert the attention of its people from "unprecedented" internal dissent, growing unemployment and financial problems.
At the same time, the leading English-language daily also acknowledged that a section of the Chinese media has also behaved irresponsibly.
"To be honest, a section of the Chinese media has also been found lacking in ethics. Some reports have failed to reflect the Chinese government's thinking on Sino-India relations," the paper said.
It indeed is "puzzling" that all this has been happening in the backdrop of flourishing Sino-India relations, it said. "Bilateral trade is growing at an unprecedented rate.
It is set to cross $60 billion next year, which would be a 30-fold increase from 2000." "Yet all the efforts to consolidate healthy relations have drawn little, if any, interest from the Indian media, which seem to be obsessed with negative news and giving truth a short shrift. This is ridiculing the freedom of the press, which the Indian media have long taken pride in," it added.
China and India, with their increasing economic strength and inter-dependence, are standing on a door that can lead to a promising future for both, the paper said, adding that any border conflict, let alone war, runs contrary to their interests and is beyond their wildest imagination.
"The media in both countries should make it their responsibility to prevent misunderstandings and maximise friendly exchanges between these two ancient and great civilisations," the editorial added. Meanwhile, the Global Times, a sister publication of the ruling Communist Party's mouthpiece, People's Daily, has published an article on China's boundary disputes with its neighbours, including India, airing the views of two Chinese academics.
"The lesson of the Sino-India border issue is that we did not seize historic opportunities," Ma Dazheng, a researcher of Chinese Borderland History and Geography Study Centre, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a leading think-tank, said.
He noted that China's border issue with India includes three sections of boundary lines. The eastern part concerning 90,000 square kilometres, most of which is currently "occupied" by India. "After the border war of 1962, the Chinese army retreated 20 kilometres and India seized the opportunity to move millions of immigrants to the region and built cities," Ma was quoted as saying.
The middle part is more than 2000 square kilometres, taken by half of each other. The western part is around 40,000 square kilometres, linking with Kashmir. China has a very important strategic Tibet highway in this region, Ma noted. At the same time, Zhang Zhirong, Associate professor of Institute of International Relations at Peking University noted that as two major powers, if China and India fight with each other, there will be no peaceful development for both. "This is a big lesson for us to learn, especially for India," Zhang said.
The Sino-India border issue is closely related to the Tibet question, Zhang said, adding that the border tension will bring "negative influence". "India in the past considered Tibet as a buffer area between the two countries, so they felt that acknowledging Tibet as an independent country could win them border benefits," he charged.