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Sikkim standoff: China media rhetoric turns shriller, says Indian troops will be kicked out of disputed area

The state-controlled Global Media says New Delhi must be taught a ‘bitter lesson’ over the military face-off in Sikkim border

india Updated: Jul 05, 2017 21:23 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Sikkim,China,Chinese media
Chinese army at Nathu la pass. The face-off erupted early June in an area along the Sikkim border which China calls Donglang and is also known as Doklam plateau.(HT Photo)

India will be “kicked” out from the area of an ongoing military standoff with China and suffer “greater losses” than it did during the 1962 war, Chinese official media warned on Wednesday, adding that New Delhi needed to be taught a “bitter lesson” for trespassing across the border.

The editorial in Global Times is the harshest yet by China’s state-controlled media since the face-off erupted early June in an area along the Sikkim border which China calls Donglang and is also known as Doklam plateau.

“We firmly believe that the face-off in the Donglang area will end up with the Indian troops in retreat. The Indian military can choose to return to its territory with dignity, or be kicked out of the area by Chinese soldiers,” said Times, a tabloid affiliated to the Communist party mouthpiece People’s Daily.

The Global Times is known for its nationalistic outlook and frequently publishes anti-India editorials and articles.

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“The Chinese public is infuriated by India’s provocation. We believe the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is powerful enough to expel Indian troops out of Chinese territory,” it said, adding, “This time, we must teach New Delhi a bitter lesson.”

It said India’s “real purpose” was aimed at blocking block China’s road construction project in the area.

“The Cold War-obsessed India is suspicious that China is building the road to cut off the Siliguri Corridor, an area held by Indians as strategically important for India to control its turbulent northeast area,” the Times said in reference to the “chicken’s neck”, a narrow strip of land that connects India’s mainland to seven border states.

“India is taking the risk to betray the historical agreement and wants to force China to swallow the result,” it added. Beijing accuses India of violating an 1890 border agreement between Britain and China.

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The Times referred to defence minister Arun Jaitley’s comments indicating that India was better prepared than in 1962, the editorial said: “Jaitley is right that the India of 2017 is different from that of 1962 -- India will suffer greater losses than in 1962 if it incites military conflicts”. The editorial also accused India of treating Bhutan as a “vassal state” and coercing Thimphu into supporting New Delhi.

“...The Indian media claimed in recent days that New Delhi ‘shouldn’t abandon Bhutan’. India is humiliating the civilisation of the 21st century,” it said.

In a separate editorial, China Daily, the other state-controlled English newspaper, said by “trespassing” into Chinese-controlled territory, “…India may be trying to make a point. It is reportedly worried that the Chinese road construction may represent a significant change in the status quo with serious security implications for India, according to its foreign ministry.”

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“But such worries could have been allayed through dialogue and consultation using the mechanisms that are already in place and which have long helped the two sides maintain peace and tranquility in the region since their short border war in 1962,” the China Daily said.

“Perhaps its defeat in that war (1962) was too humiliating for some in the Indian military and that is why they are talking belligerently this time,” it said.

“The trespassing by the Indian troops runs counter to the Indian government’s longstanding and rightful position. It should respect China’s territorial integrity and withdraw its troops back across the border,” the newspaper said.

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First Published: Jul 05, 2017 09:19 IST