NEW DELHI: Following army chief General Bipin Rawat’s statement that India should be prepared for a two-front war, with China and Pakistan, state-backed Chinese media characterised him as having “such a big mouth that he could ignite the hostile atmosphere between Beijing and New Delhi.”
The hawkish Global Times, in its editorial titled “Rawat’s arrogance taints India’s image”, said that the timing of his comments, coming as they did after “positive signals about bilateral ties” at this week’s BRICS meet, “sent the completely opposite message” about India-China relations.
The editorial further hinted that India wouldn’t be able to handle both China and Pakistan as its adversaries at the same time.
“Generals in India need to form some basic knowledge about the current situation. Can India bear the consequences when it has both China and Pakistan as its adversaries at the same time? Should the Indian Army simulate a military rivalry with its Chinese counterpart before letting Rawat speak?,” asked the editorial.
Chinese people, the editorial said, do not expect the border disputes between the two countries to be solved soon and they support negotiation result comes out, they support maintaining the status quo. But comments like General Rawat’s send the wrong message, said Global Times.
“The Chinese and Indian leaders just met during the BRICS Xiamen Summit and sent positive signals about bilateral ties. While many people believe it is time to leave the episode of the border standoff behind, Rawat has sent the completely opposite message,” said the Chinese publication, which is run by the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party.
On Wednesday, General Rawat said China will continue with its efforts to nibble away Indian territory through “salami slicing” and other measures. He added that Pakistan could also swing into action to take advantage when India is busy with problems on the China front.
“We have to be prepared for conflict on the northern and western borders,” said General Rawat.
Yesterday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson wondered whether General Rawat was authorised to speak and if his comments represented the Indian government’s position.
Global Times called Rawat’s comments “arrogant” and wondered why the General advocated a two-front war “in such a high-profile manner”.
“He not only turns a blind eye to international rules, but also made us see the arrogance probably prevailing in the Indian Army. He advocated a two-front war in such a high-profile manner, but where does the Indian Army’s confidence come from?” the state-backed publication said.
The editorial “then described there being “two Indias” – “one that is thriving and as one of the BRICS countries the same as China; and the other that keeps provoking and tangling with China.”
It advocates that the first India “discipline” the second one and that “Indians with dignity…take care of the mouths of senior officials like Rawat.”
The editorial then threatens: “Should we embrace the first India or teach the second India a lesson?”