With neither India nor China seemingly in a mood to back off, there appears to be no sign of any easing in the tense border standoff at the rocky heights of Galwan. Some, meanwhile, are not passing up any opportunity to score brownie points even as a war seems to be just one misstep away. Like the report today in China’s state-backed Global Times that seeks to remind India of the apparent futility of banking on the US as an ally.
The article sought to drive home the point that counting on an ally like the US is pointless for India. It is “wishful thinking” on India’s part to imagine that the US would come to its aid if there is a war, it said, stressing that the US’ only motive is to use India as a pawn in its geopolitical game.
“As senior Indian military officers are expecting a prolonged standoff in the China-India border region with the US reportedly voicing support for India, the Chinese military is demonstrating high military readiness on all fronts, as the intensive, simultaneous military exercises in the South China Sea, near Taiwan island and near the China-India border show India’s wishful thinking of taking advantage of US support is merely an illusion,” the Global Times quoted Chinese analysts as saying.
The Global Times article coincides with media reports on how allies are rallying behind India to help counter the latest Chinese threat. In a significant development, old allies like Israel and Russia have brought forward their weapons delivery commitments to make sure that India is not caught short if China actually starts a war.
Other allies include France who promised it would deliver additional Rafale jets next month. An in-service Israeli air defence system is expected soon. US will send precision artillery rounds to India, and Russia will expedite deliveries of ammunition and weapons worth $1 billion.
Most Indian media outlets have reported that the Indian Army is digging in for the long haul. At a briefing with Modi and Rajnath Singh after returning from his inspection of ground zero last Friday, army chief Naravane reportedly told the two leaders that the army expected this border episode with China to be a prolonged one, likely spanning months.
“The PLA has very high war preparedness in all fronts,” Global Times said quoting a military expert from Beijing. It added that despite all this tension, “the risk of a large-scale military conflict remains very low thanks to the PLA’s strength and strategic deterrence.”
The PLA can maintain high combat readiness, and conduct simultaneous and intensive military operations in different regions, it said. The question military observers are asking, according to Global Times, is — Even the US is aware of Chinese capabilities and won’t fight a hot war with China in the Asia-Pacific, so what is India thinking?
The article blamed India for whipping up a frenzy by deploying Akash air defence system in Ladakh. This move is being countered by China with Su-30 fighter jets and H-6 bombers near the border, it said.
Global Times’ fulmination came days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that American troops will be reduced in Europe and sent “to face the Chinese threat to India and Southeast Asian nations.”
“US has long been hoping to play India as a card in its strategy to contain China, and it is now using India’s domestic nationalists and hardliners in the China-India border tensions,” the article quotes Chinese analysts as saying.