What else has China been up to lately, besides annexing disputed islands in the South China Sea and raiding U.S. government computer systems? First Post of India worries that China might be contemplating a “short border war with India, as in 1962.”
China has told India it is “not interested in clearly delineating a line of actual control (LAC) on the border, pending a final settlement,” according to First Post. “This shows that it wants to change the status quo and take some territory from us. No willingness to agree on the LAC means China will not settle the border except on its terms.”
Those terms include blocking Indian development in both the Chinese and Pakistani-controlled portions of the Kashmir region, as well as the South China Sea, where China has been throwing around so much weight lately. China seems fond of a two-stage tactic for annexing disputed areas: Prevent other parties from making any practical use of the area, then suddenly drop a huge amount of Chinese construction on them.
First Post comes close to blaming China for stirring up terrorist violence in disputed areas as well. “Yesterday (4 June), 18 armymen were killed in an ambush in Manipur, and last month a similar attack took place in Nagaland, where eight Assam Rifles jawans being killed. While there may be no direct China hand in this resurgence of terrorism (or, at least, none that we know of), ask yourself a simple question: who benefits the most from bringing the North-East back to boiling point? It suits China to keep our army tied up in various insurgencies, especially when Indo-Bangladesh ties are improving and Sheikh Hasina has taken a strong line on containing anti-India forces.”
Toss in a few border incursions by Chinese troops, who even indulged in a bit of vandalism while roaming around on the wrong side of the border, and “there are good reasons to believe that China may not be beyond contemplating another short war with India.”
“We should be on an extraordinary alert for Chinese war signals, preparations or indications of hostile intent,” First Post advises the Indian government, noting that China has incentives to force such a confrontation sooner rather than later, because the Indian military is beginning to reduce its huge deficit of power against the People’s Liberation Army. India’s strengthening ties with regional allies such as Vietnam and Japan must be considered as well. If China wants to spark up, contain, and swiftly conclude a limited border conflict, it will want to act soon.
“China’s calculations could revolve around a quick surgical strike to capture Tawang — despite adverse terrain — or a bigger grab in Kashmir to use as a bargaining chip to gain Tawang,” the article speculates. “It may also be betting that India will not fight too hard for Tawang or threaten nuclear mayhem in retaliation. India has made the mistake of not developing tactical nuclear weapons unlike Pakistan, which will have no qualms about using them if we make territorial gains on the western front.”