Gordon Chang on China, India and Border Provocations



In a recent article in The National Interest, China analyst Gordon Chang focused on how tensions within the Chinese leadership undercut efforts to secure a new positive working relationship with the Indian government.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping was humiliated during his just-completed meeting with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, turning the long-awaited summit into a “fiasco,” according to one observer.

Sino-Indian relations, which were supposed to be propelled to new heights last week, now look troubled, at least in the short term.

In mid-September, Chinese troops crossed the Line of Actual Control, the demarcation of the disputed China-India border, in the Chumar section of eastern Ladakh, high in the Himalayas.

Reinforcements brought their number up to battalion strength, about 1,000 soldiers, according to reports.

Although the Sino-Indian boundary there is ill defined, it was clear China’s commanders intended to create a provocation as they advanced several kilometers on the Indian side of the temporary line…..

Is this simply an “unrelated” event or part of the pressure point of the PLA on the Chinese leader himself?

Foreign analysts have taken both the continuing purges of generals and admirals and the series of flag officer loyalty oaths to Xi as proof of his consolidation of authority over the military, but these events show continued dissension as both the purges and the oaths would be unnecessary if Xi were in control.

Because Xi has made the PLA his power base, he is dependent on the flag officers. The flags may not formally make policy, but they are nonetheless gaining wide latitude to do what they want.

And the Indian reaction?

The provocation damaged Beijing’s reputation in New Delhi, perhaps significantly.

“As the military face-off continued on Friday,” the Times of India noted, “it was clear that the visit of the Chinese president, which held the promise of improving ties, may have in fact aggravated the trust deficit because of the Ladakh incursions.”

Leading Indian academic Madhav Nalapat, writing in New Delhi’s Sunday Guardian, noted that Xi “has been blamed for this apparent show of bad faith.”

For the complete article see the following: