Criticising the Indian media reports (Times of India, 1 December 2007) that China had destroyed some unmanned Indian forward posts in the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet border area as ‘concocted’ and taking care at the same time to give adequate publicity to the Indian Defence Minister, Mr A.K.Antony’s denial of such reports, an analysis (in Chinese) done by a Beijing-based influential think-tank has pointed out that in the past, there had been similar allegations in India- a report carried by “India Today” (October 2007), remark of a legislator from the so called “Arunachal” (21 October 2007) and observation made by an Indian Parliament member ( 21 November 2007). Referring to the comment made by the ‘Global Times’ (People’s Daily affiliate, 3 December 2007) that there is no end to the publication in India of ‘concocted’ reports on Chinese troop intrusions, it asserted that the so-called “Arunachal Pradesh” into which the Chinese troops had allegedly intruded, “has always been a solid territory of China”. Quoting an Indian scholar, the analysis said that the Indian media, though claim to be independent, are in fact being supported by vested interests from behind. Finding that the ‘hawks’ in India are always dissatisfied with the importance being given by the government to ties with China and even finding reasons for viewing the territory South of the so called McMahon line as Indian territory, it added that ‘some’ among the media hope to create a tense situation in that territory through such reports, so as to bring about increase in the defence allocations there as well as to remind themselves about their ‘roles as protectors of families running them as well as the country’.
The analysis needs to be noted on two counts – accusation against Indian ‘hawks’ for being anti-China and reiteration of Arunachal as part of China. The same strategic think-tank had mentioned in November 2006 that ‘suspicions to a considerable degree on China’s rise, prevail in India’s bureaucracy and ruling circles which have a colonial mindset’. Now, sections of the Indian media have been added to the list, under the category of ‘hawks’. On Arunachal, the Chinese strategists had then accused the British of taking away the Chinese territory of 90000 Sq.kms step by step and described it as part of ‘Southern Tibet’  and the same position is reflected now.
What is the message being given by China to India, through such opinions of strategic think-tanks? Firstly, Beijing seems to feel that the ongoing bilateral efforts to improve state-to-state relations may have limitations in the face of the continuing anti-China bias in India. Secondly, it intends to signal New Delhi that it would be very difficult for China to offer big concessions on the Arunachal issue.
(The writer, Mr. D.S.Rajan, is Director, Chennai Centre for China Studies, Chennai, India. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org )
1. China Institute for International Strategic Studies, “ The Indian Defence Minister again refutes reports on border incursions by Chinese troops”( in Chinese), 4 December 2007 http://news.chinaiis.org/content/2007-12-2/2124947.shtml
2. South Asia Analysis Group paper No. 2039, dated 27 November 2006.