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India has Cold War mentality, government misleading people: Ex-China envoy on Doklam standoff

10 August, 2017 9:28 AM
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India has Cold War mentality, government misleading people: Ex-China envoy on Doklam standoff

Zhou Gang, a former Chinese ambassador to India, said that Indian officials were distorting information and that New Delhi suffers from a Cold War mentality.

A former Chinese ambassador to India today indirectly criticised Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, who on Wednesday told Parliament that lessons have been learnt from the 1962 Indo-Sino war and that Indian forces were prepared to handle any challenge.

The diplomat also said India views China as an obstacle for New Delhi to become the dominant power in South Asia and that this is "typical Cold war mentality."

Speaking to Chinese state publication, People's Daily Online, Zhou Gang, the former envoy to India, said that India has clearly not learnt any valuable lessons from history and said that Indian authorities are infusing its public with distorted information.

Gang did not expressly mention Jaitley, but People's Daily Online said that the remarks were in response to comments like those made by Jaitley and Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat, who had recently said that India was prepared to fight a two-and-a-front war, referring to potential conflicts with China or Pakistan and internal security threats.

"Indian authorities could have done a lot to improve the two nations' relationships, but instead, it sees China as an obstacle hindering its access to becoming the dominant power of South Asia, which is a typical Cold War mentality," Zhou went on to say.

Today's People's Daily Online article also quoted a Chinese expert to say that India's actions in Doklam were illegal and were a sign of India's expansionism.

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"By claiming UK's special privileges and legacies in the disputed areas, India has annexed Sikkim, as well as stirred up disputes in Tibet. It has also used its power to influence Bhutan, disrespecting its sovereignty. [History] has shown that the recent standoff is merely another show of India's expansionism," Guan Peifeng, an associate professor from the China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies at Wuhan University, said.

Both, Jaitley's and the two Chinese experts' comments come as the high-stakes but non-violent Doklam standoff nears the two-month mark. For seven weeks now, soldiers from the Indian Army and the People's Liberation Army have been locked in a face-off on the Doklam plateau near the India-China-Bhutan trijunction point.

The standoff followed Indian troops preventing the Chinese PLA from extending a road in the region. Since then, dozens of Indian have been in a what the Army has termed a "no war, no peace" situation. China has demanded an unconditional withdrawal of Indian troops while New Delhi has proposed a simultaneous retreat.

The standoff has been marked by rhetorical media pieces carried by Chinese state media. Publications have run a number of article or opinion pieces highly critical of India and some, more hawkish outlets have even warned of the Doklam crisis escalating.

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