Taking a cue from the government’s carefully crafted denial of the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh, the state controlled media on Tuesday blamed the Indian media for sensationalising a “non-existing confrontation”.
Newspapers and television channels quoting government sources in India had reported over the weekend that armed personnel from both countries were locked in a “face-off” after Indian troops dismantled a Chinese watchtower built on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Burtse in Ladakh.
There was no reporting on the incident in the Chinese media – as has been the case in recent stand-offs, most notably during the tense situation between the two forces at Depsang in Ladakh in the month of April in 2013.
On Monday foreign ministry spokesperson, Hong Lei, who seemed to be using a template ready for such occasions, said that as far as he knew there was “…no such face-off”.
But the next sentence qualified the denial.
“The Chinese border troops have been performing their duties on the Chinese side of the Actual Control Line (or LAC),” Hong said, adding: “The Chinese side is committed to maintaining peace and tranquility of the border area. We hope that the Indian side can clarify relevant issue, work with China, bear in mind the big picture of bilateral ties, and safeguard peace and tranquility…”
On Tuesday, state media, through opinion pieces quoting South Asian experts, dutifully followed up on Hong’s brief statement.
“This is not the first time that Indian media has reported 'confrontations' that do not exist in the Sino-Indian border area. These news are often untrue, negative, misleading and aimed at provoking public opinion, and are harmful to the relationship between China and India,” Jiang Jingkui, South Asian Languages director at Peking University told the Global Times newspaper.
Certain groups in India want to avenge the 1962 defeat and provoking hostility, Jiang said.
“Unlike the Indian government and local citizens who are supportive of Sino-Indian relations and peaceful development, they believe that a war with China is inevitable as they want to avenge the Sino-Indian confrontation that took place in 1962," Jiang said.
Sun Shihai, director of the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies, told state media that neither country wants tension on the border.
“And we have only seen, occa­sionally, small-­scale inci­dents in recent years," Sun said.