China is battle ready and not afraid to go to war with India in an “all-out confrontation” along the entire disputed border, a Chinese daily warned on Tuesday. A commentary in the state-run Global Times said China must deploy more troops along the winding border with India and speed up road construction in Doklam where the two sides have been engaged in a month-long standoff.
It also suggested that New Delhi triggered the dispute as it was worried over China’s rapid economic rise.
The stand-off began when Indian troops stopped Chinese soldiers from building a road in Doklam, an area disputed by China and Bhutan.
“China doesn’t fear going to war to safeguard sovereignty either, and will make itself ready for a long-term confrontation,” said the commentary by Duo Mu.
“Within China, there are voices calling for the Indian troops to be expelled immediately while Indian public opinion is clamouring for war with China. However, the two sides need to exercise restraint and avoid the current conflict spiralling out of control.”
The writer said one important reason that prompted India to trigger the border dispute was its worry over China’s economic development.
“China has risen quickly to be the world’s No. 2 economy. As time is on China’s side, New Delhi is deeply concerned with China’s rapid rise. Provocation at the border reflects India’s worry and attempt to sound out China.”
The commentary said China doesn’t recognise the land under India’s actual control as Indian territory and accused New Delhi of “poisoning” the atmosphere for border negotiations.
“China doesn’t advocate and tries hard to avoid a military clash with India, but China doesn’t fear going to war to safeguard sovereignty either, and will make itself ready for a long-term confrontation.
“China must be prepared for future conflicts and confrontation. China can take further counter-measures along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“If India stirs up conflicts in several spots, it must face the consequence of an all-out confrontation with China along the entire LAC. The 3,500-km border has never been short of disputes. Since the 1962 border war, the Indian side has repeatedly made provocations.”
China and India have a 3,488-km border, of which 220 km falls in the Sikkim sector where Doklam is situated. Doklam is at a tri-junction between India, China and Bhutan.
China calls Doklam its own, a claim contested by India and Bhutan.
The commentary comes after the People’s Liberation Army conducted a live-fire drill in Tibet, which borders India.
“According to the Indian media, Indian troops are stationed at the border area and have set up logistical support. They claim India will continue the confrontation with China at the Sikkim section of the border until the Chinese troops withdraw.”
“In response, China must continue strengthening border construction and speed up troop deployment and construction in the Doklam area. These are legitimate actions of a sovereign country.
“If India plans to devote more resources in the border area, then so be it. China can engage in a competition with India over economic and military resources deployment in the border area.
“With growing national strength, China is capable of deploying resources in remote border areas.”
The commentary said road and rail links in the Tibetan area had been extended close to the border with India, Nepal and Bhutan.
“It’s a competition of military strength as well as a competition of overall economic strength.”