India’s military was merely bluffing and not as strong as it claims, expert said, after senior Indian military officers made harsh remarks toward China.
The Indian Army has been “very well prepared” and China is unlikely to try any “misadventures anymore,” Abhay Krishna, Indian General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Army Command of the Indian Army, said on India’s Army Day.
The statement was made in response to a question on the preparedness of the Indian Army after the Doklam standoff in June 2017.
It was made only two days after Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat told a press conference that China was exerting pressure on India along the border, but claimed that the Indian Army was fully capable of dealing with any security challenge on the northern frontier.
The unconstructive remarks made by the senior Indian officer not only went against the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries but also work against bilateral efforts to safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas, according to a statement by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang.
India will buy more than 160,000 guns worth $553 million for troops on its disputed, high-altitude borders.
“Apparently India was grandstanding to make it appear powerful to neighboring countries in South Asia. However, their military is not as strong as stated,” said Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
“The military officials’ remarks do not represent the Indian government’s attitude, while the Indian government’s response, which has yet to be heard, is a litmus test of India’s sincerity to improve bilateral relations with China,” Qian Feng, a researcher at the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies, told the Global Times.
Qian said more border disputes are highly possible, and both sides should deal with such crises through the border management mechanism to avoid incidents like the Doklam standoff.
Sino-Indian relations have reached a turning point that either the two countries find an acceptable position for their ties and a mechanism to coordinate, or their relations will be a burden to the two rising powers, Zhang Jiadong, a professor at Fudan University’s Center for American Studies, wrote in an article published on news site thepaper.cn.
Indian soldiers trespassed into Chinese territory in Doklam and stayed for more than 70 days in June last year, sending Sino-Indian ties to a historic low.