After violent clashes and heightened tensions between India and China in the Galwan Valley, passions are being ignited by hardliners against Beijing despite PM Modi trying to diffuse India-China tensions and understanding that war is not an option.
From a compassionate stance to a hostile one – Chinese state media – Global Times writes that India will be more humiliated than after the 1962 border conflict with China if it cannot restrain rapidly growing anti-China sentiment in the country.
GT acknowledges that even though Indian PM Narendra Modi permitted the Indian Army to take any necessary measures at the volatile India-China border, he also seemed to downplay the border clash that killed 20 Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley.
“Nobody has intruded into our border, neither is anybody there now, nor have our posts been captured,” Modi said, referring to Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, GT quoted the Reuters.
Chinese experts said that PM Modi is trying to counter the nationalists and hardliners as the Indian PM understands that India cannot afford to have a conflict with China so he is making attempts to reduce tensions.
Lin Minwang, a professor at Fudan University’s Center for South Asian Studies said that PM Modi’s comments will be very valuable in easing India-China tensions because he has eliminated the moral basis for hardliners to further blame China.
Other experts stated that PM Modi’s statement that the Indian Army can take all necessary steps at the contentious border is a show of strength for domestic audiences and to appease the masses and boost the morale of soldiers.
It is normal to see passions rising in India, but we don’t need to be anxious whether nationalism will seize the policymaking of India to further provoke China. When India is in conflict with Pakistan, nationalism might push the hardliners to take actual operations, but when it comes to China, it is a different story,” Lin said.
The Indian government and defence officials understand how powerful China is, while the nationalists are ignorant and arrogant, Lin said. “So they may use say some harsh words, but they cannot dare to take the first shot against us.”
Recently, V.K.Singh, India’s minister for roads and transport said: “If 20 were martyred on our side, then there would have been at least double the casualties on their side.”
GT says that India is only trying to pacify the hardliners by making wild speculations. They do not want the hardliners to put more pressure on the government and provoke China, and the reason why Beijing did not disclose the numbers is because China also wants to ease tensions.
China is being very cautious in its efforts to avoid conflict, but this does not mean China is afraid of any hostility from any country, especially India. Chinese experts said that an escalated, large-scale military battle between India and China would only result in a repeat of 1962.
China’s preference for using military force is not intended towards India in the West, but in the East where Beijing is keen to reunify Taiwan, so China’s deployment in the border region with India is less than the Indian side, Lin said.
However, if tensions do not ease and a war breaks out, China’s massive advantages on transportation and military industry will help the PLA to obtain a comprehensive tactical advantage over India. “This is why India hasn’t attempted to launch a full attack against China for decades but keeps building low-level tensions,” he noted.