With flaring tensions on the Indian-Chinese border, Indian military expert suspect that there’s a link between China’s mishandling of the virus with the border incursions with India.
“Globally, China is losing its leverage as it is believed to have caused the pandemic. Industries are looking to move out of China. This is causing China to divert attention from the COVID-19 situation,” said Lt. Gen. Vinod Bhatia, India’s former director-general of military operations (DGMO).
As earlier reported by EurAsian Times, India dispatched troops along the border after it was reported that China is pitching tents near river Galwan, which was the 1962 flashpoint between China and India. This came after the recent instance when the two sides got into an ‘armless’ scuffle at the Naku La pass in North Sikkim, injuring soldiers from both sides. The Chinese military helicopters were later seen flying close to the undefined Line of Actual Control (LAC) on several occasions.
The conflict between the Indian-Chinese border troops started when China objected to the construction of a road in the Galwan valley. The road is being built at the junction of Shyok and Galwan rivers, about 200 km north of the Pangong Tso lake.
India and China have turbulent relations since the brief war that was fought in 1962 due to similar border issues at Aksai Chin. “This issue is a long haul. Military-to-military talks have not been successful, diplomats are now discussing the issue. We cannot rule out that the politicians may have to get involved,” said retired Gen. Ved Prakash Malik, the former army chief who led Indian forces during the 1999 Kargil War.
“Isolated incidents have occurred in the past because of an undefined grey area at the LAC. This time, however, it is different as the Chinese soldiers have dug-in and sat down at various disputed areas,” he added.
Indian Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, has clarified that both the nations are in the process of resolving the current border issues through established diplomatic channels and don’t need the US to mediate between them.
This was in reference to US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate between the two nuclear-armed nations. The Chinese side has also rejected the offer when the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the two countries did not want the “intervention” from a third party to resolve their differences.
“China respects strength, India will do well to follow the concept of no blinking, no brinkmanship, standing firm on the ground and exploiting the established mechanisms of flag meetings,” said former DGMO.
Meanwhile, Chinese media has reported that Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has ordered the military to think about worst-case scenarios and scale up training and battle preparedness.
According to Brigadier S K Chatterji (Retired) who served in the Regiment of Artillery of the Indian Army, the foremost reasons driving Chinese responses are the coronavirus-related backlashes that China is facing. Much of the world believes that China lied. At best, it kept quiet early in the outbreak and now faces a global trust deficit.
Several countries including India have asked for a probe into the origins of COVID-19 which is suspected to come from China. This has resulted in building up pressure on China as many governments have aggressively pitched for a transparent inquiry into the pandemic and also threatened to cut ties with Beijing.
New Delhi has also brought in new regulations to deter Chinese firms, which recovered from the crisis earlier than other countries, to acquire vulnerable Indian companies. “Some major global companies are thinking about moving their manufacturing facilities to India or other Asian countries. The Chinese want the world to believe that India has unstable times ahead. It plans to get these companies to rethink their strategy,” wrote Chatterji.