The article originally appeared on India Today on 9 August.
In a clear attempt to patronize Bhutan, an editorial by China’s official news agency, Xinhua now has blamed India to turn Bhutan into its protectorate. Saying that if there is any dispute, it is between China and Bhutan and “it has nothing to do with India.”
Terming Bhutan a weak country, the editorial says India is recklessly invading its neighbour based on “childish assumptions and foolhardy speculations.” “The bottom line in international justice is that no country may pursue its security at the cost of another’s sovereignty,” the editorial further writes in attempts to provoke Bhutan.
The editorial’s line that “China respects Bhutan as an independent sovereign state and resents India’s attempt to turn it into a de facto protectorate,” may be a new Chinese ploy to mould or pressure Bhutan after India has refused to budge from its position in spite of incessant Chinese threats of military action.
Extending the routine of aggrandizing China’s military prowess, it warns that “India should underestimate neither China’s determination nor its capacity to defend its sovereignty and national interests and must dispel all illusions and avoid disastrous consequences.”
Terming India’s thinking that China will back down a wishful thinking, it further says that India, so far, has done nothing to diffuse the border crisis in Doklam and instead is making eccentric demands even if China is known as an expansionist country involved in territorial disputes with around 20 countries.
China has been ratcheting up its anti-India rhetoric through statements of its foreign ministry, defence ministry, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its state run media, infusing it with war threats, saying it is now up to India to deescalate the border tension and withdraw its troops from an area that it claims as its own.
The editor of the Global Times, a state owned hawkish tabloid, today came up with his second video warning India of war if it doesn’t withdraw its troops from Doklam unilaterally. In his first video message last week, he was seen aggrandizing China’s military strength vis-a-vis India, drawing parallels like ‘if China and India engage in military conflict, the PLA has an overwhelming advantage”. The hawkish newspaper, a sister publication the People’s Daily, Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, has run a number of anti-India editorials laden with rhetoric ever since soldiers from the Indian Army and the PLA first faced off on the Doklam plataue last month.
Doklam that China considers a part of its Donglang region has been a long running territorial dispute between Bhutan and China and Bhutan even issued a demarche to China on construction of road in the area by the PLA. Indian troops entered the area to prevent the road construction with India informing China that it was against the agreement of maintaining the status quo in the area as agreed in the past.
But an autocratic and expansionist China refused to budge, and in fact, unleashed an intense propaganda war against India aimed to dislodge the legally valid Indian claims and employed every possible propaganda tool in its arsenal, be it the high pitched ‘war possibility’ threat or arrogant responses delivered by its higher level officials including daily briefings of its foreign ministry or indiscriminate verbal firing rounds by its official publications.