China's rhetoric over the border dispute with India has been become increasingly belligerent since the standoff began in June, and now appears to be setting a hard deadline for military action. As we've been reporting a standoff between India's army and China's army on Doklam plateau in the tiny country of Bhutan. China is attempting to annex the region, and on June 16 sent Chinese troops and construction workers to begin road construction. Bhutan troops tried to prevent the Chinese troop incursion, but they were overrun. India sent in its own troops, saying that it did so when Bhutan invoked a treaty with India and asked for help. The result is a standoff, though no bullets have been fired yet. However, statements in the media and from China's Foreign Ministry have been increasingly threatening, demanding that India withdraw its troops and permit China to invade and annex the region, or be "annihilated" by China's army. Many analysts seem to agree that China will win a military confrontation. In the last three days, China's state-run Global Times appears to have set a deadline of August 19, after which there will be a "small-scale military operation to expel Indian troops." The article on August 5 said:
#"China will not allow the military standoff between China and India in Doklam to last for too long, and there may be a small-scale military operation to expel Indian troops within two weeks, Chinese experts said after six ministries and institutions made remarks on the incident within the past 24 hours.
From Thursday to Friday, two ministries and four institutions, including the Chinese foreign ministry, the defense ministry, the Chinese Embassy in India and the People's Daily, released statements or commentary on the military standoff between China and India in Doklam, Tibet Autonomous Region. The standoff has lasted for almost two months now, and there is still no end in sight."
In order to prove that the threats are credible, the article emphasizes that all of China's relevant ministries and institutions are saying the same thing: That a military action within two weeks will expel Indian troops.
The article goes on to quote Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences:
"The series of remarks from the Chinese side within a 24-hour period sends a signal to India that there is no way China will tolerate the Indian troops' incursion into Chinese territory for too long. If India refuses to withdraw, China may conduct a small-scale military operation within two weeks."
As usual, we have to point out that China has lied repeatedly and continuously about its claims and criminal activities in the South China Sea, and so there is no reason to believe any claims they make about Bhutan's territory on the Doklam Plateau. But China's policy is to use brute military force to invade and annex other countries' territories, and the same thing is now happening to Bhutan. It would have happened already but Indian troops have blocked China's invasion so far.
Another article on August 7 says the following:
"The Times of India reported on Monday that "the Indian security establishment is reasonably sure China will not risk a war or even 'a small-scale military operation' despite all its belligerent rhetoric." Global Times (Beijing, 5-Aug)
Of course China doesn't want to risk a war and hopes that peace could return and China and India can get along well. But if Indian troops continue to linger on Chinese soil, it will be quite another matter.
India made constant provocations at the China-India border in 1962. The government of Jawaharlal Nehru at that time firmly believed China would not strike back. China had just undergone domestic turmoil and natural disasters; Beijing and Washington were engaged in hostility and China's relations with the Soviet Union had begun to chill.
However, the Nehru government underestimated the determination of the Chinese government to safeguard China's territorial integrity even as the country was mired in both domestic and diplomatic woes.
Fifty-five years have passed, but the Indian government is as naïve as it ever was. The lessons of the 1962 war didn't last for half a century. Usually, no government dares to offend a powerful neighbor. Now all Indian people know that their troops have trespassed on the territory of another country, although New Delhi claims that it is a disputed area between China and Bhutan.
As the risk of war is rising, Indian public opinion has become clear that Indian troops cannot defeat the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
Now the Indians place their hopes on China being unwilling to risk a war due to strategic concerns. They believe the US will likely side with India, which will exert huge psychological pressure on China. It seems that New Delhi does not comprehend the nature of the Sino-US rivalry and the meaning of strategic containment. It thinks Washington can influence the situation along the China-India border simply by issuing a pro-India statement or sending warships to the Indian Ocean."
As I've said in the past, the people in China live in a fantasy world where their military will defeat everyone else in the world, and all that will be required is "a small-scale military operation," similar to a victory in a brief war in 1962. That war fizzled quickly because both countries were in a generational Recovery era, about 14 years after the end of their respected generational crisis wars, China's Communist Revolution and India's Partition war.
In any country, there is little desire to fight another war so soon after a generational crisis war.
But today both countries are in generational Crisis eras, and any war they fight will not be brief.
In fact the editor at the Global Times is probably a child who is too young to remember another massive invasion by the Chinese into Vietnam in 1979. That was largely a defeat for the Chinese, though they undoubtedly thought at the beginning that it would be a victorious "small-scale military operation."
China might also take a look at the current war in Yemen. When it began in 2014, it was supposed to be a "small-scale military operation" by Saudi Arabia to wrest control of the country's capital city Sanaa from the Houthis. Instead, that war is still going today.... Global Times (Beijing, 7-Aug) and Reuters