Indian army chief's comments won't change government policy: expert
China urged India Thursday to follow the path of history, by doing and speaking more about things that help develop Sino-Indian relations after the Indian army chief spoke of a "two-front war."
"I'm not sure whether his speech was authorized, and whether his remarks were his own or reflect the Indian government's stance," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press conference on Thursday, adding that even the Indian media considered his remarks shocking.
"China and India are each other's most important neighbor as well as the two biggest developing countries and emerging markets… the two nations shall together safeguard regional peace,"Gen said.
He made the comments in response to the Indian army chief's Wednesday remarks that India shall be prepared for a two-front war against China and Pakistan.
India has to be prepared for possible conflict along its northern and western fronts. Pakistan has launched a proxy war on India and China has started flexing its muscles, Indian media Economic Times quoted Indian army chief Bipin Rawat as saying on Wednesday.
China-India ties shall not be derailed, and the two countries will not have out-of-control conflicts, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said Thursday. Both sides should consider each other as partners, and the notion of seeing each other as adversaries and threats is outdated, he said.
India has withdrawn personnel and equipment from Doklam after a military stand-off lasting from mid June to late August.
"Rawat made the comments after the Doklam standoff and a political consensus of the leaders of China and India. They were very inappropriate, which have severely damaged Sino-Indian ties that were already strained by the standoff," Qian Feng, an expert at the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies, told the Global Times on Thursday.
"The army chief sees China as an enemy. It's a strategic misjudgment," Qian said.
"For the Indian army, China is its competitor, not Pakistan. It wants to seek revenge for its defeat in 1962," Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times on Thursday.
"It's nonsense to call it a 'two-front war,'" Qian said.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) would overwhelmingly defeat the Indian army. China would prevent Pakistan from getting involved since we can deal with it ourselves, Qian explained. Also, Pakistan would not provoke war against India, Zhao said.
Rawat probably wanted to highlight the Indian army's importance following the Doklam standoff. But India's policy won't necessarily change. Its army has limited influence on diplomacy, Zhao said.
But Qian also warned that India has been preparing for a "two-front war." "India continues to prepare itself, which includes the purchase of stealth fighters from the U.S. and troop deployment."