China can make India suffer ‘severe’ military losses: report

Published September 2, 2020
Indian army soldiers rest next to artillery guns at a makeshift transit camp before heading to Ladakh, near Baltal, southeast of Srinagar. — Reuters/File
Indian army soldiers rest next to artillery guns at a makeshift transit camp before heading to Ladakh, near Baltal, southeast of Srinagar. — Reuters/File

SHANGHAI: China is able to make India suffer more severe military losses than in the past if it wants to engage in competition, state-backed newspaper Global Times said on Tuesday, after a fresh border flare-up between the two nuclear-armed countries.

Indian forces foiled an attempt by Chinese troops to occupy a hill on the Asian giants disputed border in the western Himalayas, officials in New Delhi said on Monday.

On the same day, China’s military spokesman demanded India withdraw troops that Beijing said had illegally crossed their shared border. China’s foreign ministry said Chinese border troops had not crossed the line of actual control.

“India [...] said it preempted Chinese military activity,” the Global Times said in an editorial. “The word ‘preempt’ shows it was the Indian troops that first took destructive actions, and the Indian troops initiated the standoff this time.” It added that India faced a “powerful China” and that New Delhi should not have any “illusions” of support from Washington over the issue.

“But if India wants to engage in competition, China has more tools and capability than India. If India would like a military showdown, the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) is bound to make the Indian army suffer much more severe losses than it did in 1962.”

The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party. Meanwhile, India’s foreign ministry on Tuesday accused Chinese troops of taking “provocative actions” on the disputed Himalayan mountain border while commanders from both sides were holding talks on Monday to defuse tensions between the Asian giants.

“Due to timely defensive action, the Indian side was able to prevent these attempts from unilaterally altering the status quo,” ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.

Indian troops had deployed on four strategic hilltops after what New Delhi called an attempted Chinese incursion along a border in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh over the weekend, an Indian official said.

China denied that it started the latest flare-up, with an embassy spokeswoman in New Delhi accusing Indian troops of trespassing across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) — the de facto border — and conducting “flagrant provocations”.The Indian official, who was briefed on the latest incident, said the Indian troop move responded to an attempt by a large number of Chinese infantry to push through a key mountain pass late on Saturday.

“We mobilised and occupied the four heights,” the official said, adding all four hilltops were on India’s side of the LAC.

The Indian official said the Chinese soldiers were backed up by military vehicles and drew close enough to engage Indian troops in verbal arguments, but there were no clashes.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2020

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