New Delhi: China’s recent statement on the Doklam standoff that it would take all necessary measures to protect its legitimate and lawful rights indicates an escalation of tensions between India and China, and a warning that military conflict is a step closer, the state media has said.
The Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday posted a 15-page fact sheet with maps and other details about the standoff since it began on June 16.
"The foreign ministry document shows that the crisis on the China-India border has reached a crucial moment," Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times.
Zhao said the standoff has not been resolved because China and India have different perspectives on the issue. “China was building a road, but India considers it a big threat to its national security," he said.
Zhao said if the conflict turns into a military one, both the countries would face a very tough situation. “Since people of both countries are tremendously patriotic, even economic cooperation between the two countries would be heavily affected."
The foreign ministry statement said the China-Bhutan boundary issue is one between China and Bhutan and has nothing to do with India. “As a third party, India has no right to interfere in or impede the boundary talks between China and Bhutan, still less the right to make territorial claims on Bhutan’s behalf," the fact sheet added.
Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the longer the standoff lasts, the worse it will be for India. He even said that it could also effect the BRICS summit in September.
“If Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi refuses to come to Xiamen for the BRICS summit, India will be in a more inferior position," Hu said.
On Wednesday, China accused New Delhi of "concocting" excuses over the "illegal entry" of Indian troops into its territory but added that there has been a significant reduction in their numbers.
The foreign ministry said Beijing had acted with a great deal of restraint.
"But the Indian side not only has not taken any actual steps to correct its mistake, it has concocted all sorts of reasons that don't have a leg to stand on, to make up excuses for the Indian military's illegal crossing of the border," the statement said.
In a separate statement, China also claimed that there were initially more than 400 Indian border troops about 180 metres into Chinese territory and that the number has come down to 40 by late July.
Sources in New Delhi, however, denied any reduction in troops. "The strength remains the same as it was, it's status quo," a source was quoted as saying by Reuters.