Chinese media outlets are saying India has become arrogant because of the Quad

New Delhi: Chinese President Xi Jinping is not going to climb down anytime soon from the aggressive stand that he has taken against India in the last 18 months. Much of this posturing has been attributed to the closeness between India and the United States that has developed in the last few years.

According to China watchers, Xi Jinping is using the prevailing border situation with India to give a message to domestic and global audiences that under his command, China is now ready to push the US to the background and emerge as the new superpower.

Scanning the Chinese media—digital and print—considered to be close to the Chinese state machinery, reveals that the more than one-year-long border confrontation with India is being presented by these media outlets to their readers, both domestic and global, as India trying to usurp Chinese territory.

In the same breath, they also mention that this “daring exercise” is being carried out by India on the prodding of the United States. On 13 October, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, while responding to a query by a reporter of Shenzhen TV on the visit of Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu to Arunachal Pradesh, said that “China has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh established unilaterally and illegally by the Indian side and firmly opposes the Indian leader’s visit to this above-mentioned area”.

This statement, which has been termed “unnecessary” by officials, has further dented the possibility of normalization of ties between the two countries any time soon, while also making clear the intention of Xi Jinping and his close advisors. Similarly, on 11 October, Colonel Long Shaohua, spokesperson for the Western Theatre Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), while commenting on the result of the 13th round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting, held on 10 October at the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point on the Chinese side, said that “the Indian side persisted in its unreasonable and unrealistic demands, which added difficulties to the negotiations” and that “China is firm in its resolve to safeguard national sovereignty”.

The statement, however, did not come as a surprise to the audiences concerned in India and Western analysts, as just hours before the talks started, pro-PLA social media users started sharing images of wounded Indian soldiers who were hurt during the Galwan valley incident in June 2020.

Multiple Chinese commentators, who have a history of pushing the views of Xi Jinping, are taking the argument that India is the one which is the aggressor in the entire issue and if it is not “countered”, it will take over Chinese territory. One major supporting “fact” that is being used by these commentators to build their narrative is the emergence of the Quad, which has been presented in China as an alliance of four nations that has been created specifically with the purpose to weaken the Chinese mainland. The story that is being told is that China is being harassed and bullied by India and the Quad—a story that sounds compelling and convincing to Xi Jinping’s domestic audience.

A recent commentary carried on the Chinese official military website has also shared this narrative. It says that India has become “arrogant” and “self-confident” post Quad. “New Delhi aims to obtain greater geopolitical benefits and their policymakers believe that only by developing relations with the US and joining the ‘Indo-Pacific’ camp can they have arm-wrestling with China. The Quad mechanism that has become more military-oriented has given India greater self-confidence, who has become increasingly arrogant.”

The fact that China has drastically increased its bullying against Taiwan even as it is engaged in a dispute with India, suggests that Xi Jinping is facing difficulties from multiple adversaries and yet is not willing to “cede ground”, a perception that he is using to cement his position more strongly, globally and domestically.

“China will not launch a full-blown war against India. It is an adventure that will give nothing much in return, but it will cripple its globally-spread financial tentacles. The world, including Russia, will come together to tackle this far-reaching act as they realise that China will not stop its aggression with India, but will move to repeat the same with its other neighbours. Xi Jinping has the guns, the bullets, aircraft and ships but he also realises that he has crores of mouths to feed which he will find difficult to do if he enters into a full-blown confrontation with India. Every country, except Pakistan, is upset with China. India has no such enemies. However, China will, in close coordination with the generals at GHQ, Rawalpindi, continue to engage India at its eastern border till it is convinced that doing so is not serving its interest,” an official said.

The close coordination between Pakistani and Chinese generals, especially in the field of third country espionage, development of nuclear and biological warfare, and cyber-attacks, have already been unearthed by relevant agencies, including Western agencies, a few years ago. The Sunday Guardian has also accessed travel and identification documents that show serving Pakistani spies, including a woman attached to its Military Intelligence, going to China on a “student” visa.

According to region watchers, the role of Pakistan in the entire issue, too, needs to be analysed if a proper understanding of the action taken by China in the last few years regarding India has to be done. “For several years, Pakistan was under the patronage of the US. However, once the US under President Donald Trump realised what Pakistan has been up to, the US administration started moving away from Pakistan. When Pakistan realised that the US was no longer going to protect it, it quickly latched on to China and is now trying to prove its worth to the Chinese. Due to the situation on its eastern borders, India has been forced to spend a lot of its resources and finances in that particular region for the last two years. And this is affecting India’s economy, which is, like any other economy, still recovering from the pandemic. Don’t forget that India was already utilising a lot of its resources and money on its Western border with Pakistan. The recent killing of civilians in Kashmir and the increase in infiltration are all being done to force India to devote more of its resources at the Western border. It will be in the interest of Pakistan if India and China don’t have even a workable if not a warm relationship. Blaming the Dasu dam attack on R&AW by Pakistan was just another ploy to ensure that the relations between India and China don’t normalise in the coming months. Basically, India is being bled from two sides and both the assassins are working in tandem,” an official said.