New Delhi (Sputnik) – China has tried to downplay Indian Army Chief’s war-invoking statement as one not necessarily reflective of the Indian government’s stance. An Indian expert has also backed China’s position while pointing out that the statement exposes the “intellectual turmoil of India’s bureaucracy.”
“The comments expose the intellectual turmoil of India’s bureaucracy. It's cryptic comments are belied by the sharp end of Indian diplomacy’s alarm about ‘salami tactics’. Moreover, this public divergence of views does not say much about the political leadership’s managerial skills. What India needs is a comprehensive solution, which is only possible if third parties are given their due. After all, on Beijing’s side is history and it reinforces its will to push its claims. Exacerbating all this is a Pakistan always in the wings, ever ready to swoop. In the face of these totalitarian regimes, the only thing India can do is to start acting like a democracy, open its decision making to scrutiny, and thereby demonstrate that we do indeed hold the moral high ground,” Deep K. Datta-Ray, the author of ‘The Making of Indian Diplomacy: a critique of Euro-centrism’ (OUP, New York) told Sputnik.
The Chinese government has said that though General Bipin Rawat’s statement was “shocking,” it gives the benefit of doubt to the Indian government in the hope that Rawat’s statement did not reflect the Modi government’s official stance. Foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Beijing was not sure whether the Indian Army chief was speaking for himself or for the Indian government.
“We have noted this statement…his remarks are shocking. We don’t know whether he was authorized to speak those words or whether it was spontaneous or whether it represented the position of the Indian government,” Geng said at a regular news briefing.
Shuang also suggested that Gen. Rawat should refer to President Xi's contention that India and China are each other’s development partners and not threats.
Meanwhile, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi also referred to the Indian Army Chief’s statement during his joint press briefing with visiting Nepalese foreign minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara. He said it was the responsibility of both India and China to ensure that bilateral ties remain on track.
“For the past few months, for clear reasons, China-India relations were affected and undermined. Going forward the two sides need to work together to follow up on the consensus reached by the two leaders and make sure bilateral relations will stay on track,” Yi said.
A day earlier on Wednesday, the Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat had referred to the recent standoff with China at Doklam and said the situation could gradually snowball into a larger conflict on India’s northern borders. He said this while accusing Beijing of "flexing its muscles" and steadily extending its claims of sovereignty over land and sea.
"The salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner, testing our limits of the threshold is something we have to be wary about and remain prepared for situations emerging which could gradually emerge into conflict," Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat had said.