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Beijing, not New Delhi, should have security concerns: Chinese state media

The Chinese state media has described as ridiculous the fears that Beijing could attacks the Siliguri corridor that connects Indian mainland to the country’s northeast.

world Updated: Jul 16, 2017 21:13 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
India and Chinese border guards have been in a standoff in Doklam for almost a month now. (HT file photo)

It is China, and not India, that should worry about its security in view of New Delhi’s growing defence ties with the US and Japan, the Chinese state media said on Monday, talking about the border standoff between the two neighbours.

The fear that Beijing could attack the corridor connecting Indian mainland to its northeast was “ridiculous”, the state-run China Daily said, as it red-flagged the 10-day Malabar naval exercise that India, US and Japan kicked off on Monday in the northern Indian Ocean.

“India fears that if China completes the road, it could facilitate a possible Chinese attack on the narrow strip of land that connects India’s northeast states with its mainland. This is ridiculous,” the editorial said, referring to the Siliguri corridor. “And, no country can pursue its security at the cost of another country’s (Bhutan’s) sovereignty,” it said.

The border guards of the two countries have been in an almost month-long standoff in the Doklam region located at the narrow but strategically important tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan, with the three countries barely separated by mountains and passes.

China has accused Indian soldiers of trespass and preventing its soldiers from building a road in Doklam, or Donglang for Chinese, which is close to the Sikkim border on India’s northeast and is claimed by Bhutan.

China and its state media have aggressively taken up the border impasse, with some analysts even threatening an all-out war. New Delhi has said little except that Beijing’s move to build the road had serious security implications for India.

India was raking up Donglang to hold back the China-Bhutan boundary negotiations, the English-language newspaper said.

Bhutan doesn’t have diplomatic ties with China and the dispute has persisted despite 24 rounds of negotiations.

The newspaper also wrote about the Malabar war games. The 10-day drills, started 23 years ago, are being held in the northern Indian Ocean, where China is looking to expand its presence.

Officially, China says there is no problem as long as the war game it is not “directed” at another country. But the editorial had a different take.

China “should” be concerned with the exercise as well as India buying weapons from Washington.

It also talked about the US clearing the sale of a military transport aircraft to India and a $2-billion deal for surveillance drones, saying “it is China that should feel ‘security concerns’, given the importance of the Indian Ocean for its trade and oil imports”.

The Trump administration’s decision to sell 22 unmanned Guardian naval drones caused concern in China as it will allow India to watch on whole of the Indian Ocean.

A similar sentiment was expressed by scholar Lin Mingwang in the newspaper.

“While visiting the United States two weeks ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi managed to sell the idea that New Delhi is a key defence partner of Washington and it can serve as a counterweight to China’s rise,” Lin, who is from the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai, wrote.

It was clear that India was ready to serve as an ally of the US rather than be “a swing power” that honoured independent, non-aligned diplomacy.

Beijing should remain vigilant against New Delhi’s moves while urging it to withdraw its troops from the Chinese territory, he said.

First Published: Jul 10, 2017 10:20 IST