SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China is able to make India suffer more severe military losses than in the past if it wants to engage in competition, state-backed newspaper Global Times said on Tuesday, after a fresh border flare-up between the two nuclear-armed countries.
Indian forces foiled an attempt by Chinese troops to occupy a hill on the Asian giants’ disputed border in the western Himalayas, officials in New Delhi said on Monday.
On the same day, China’s military spokesman demanded India withdraw troops that Beijing said had illegally crossed their shared border. China’s foreign ministry said Chinese border troops had not crossed the line of actual control.
“India … said it preempted Chinese military activity,” the Global Times said in an editorial. “The word ‘preempt’ shows it was the Indian troops that first took destructive actions, and the Indian troops initiated the standoff this time.”
It added that India faced a “powerful China” and that New Delhi should not have any “illusions” of support from Washington over the issue.
“But if India wants to engage in competition, China has more tools and capability than India. If India would like a military showdown, the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) is bound to make the Indian army suffer much more severe losses than it did in 1962.”
The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.
Tensions between the two armies in the freezing snow deserts of the Ladakh region have been running high for months.
In June, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in hand-to-hand fighting with Chinese troops in the nearby Galwan valley, the neighbours’ most serious military clash in more than half a century.
Both sides had agreed to pull back after that clash, but the Indian Army accused Chinese forces of violating that accord over the weekend.
Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Stephen Coates