'Jinping risked future with incursions into India-controlled territory'

NEW DELHI: Chinese President Xi Jinping has risked his future with recent high-profile incursions into Indian-controlled territory, said an opinion piece by a Chinese lawyer.

In an opinion article for Newsweek written by Gordon G Chang, a lawyer and commentator, Xi Jinping, already roiling the Communist Party with a “rectification” campaign and mass persecution of foes, has risked his future with recent high-profile incursions into Indian-controlled territory.

“Unfortunately for Xi, he is the “architect” of these aggressive moves into India and his People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has unexpectedly flopped”, Chang wrote in the opinion piece.

“India is not giving the invaders the opportunity to improve. Both sides have just accused the other of violating decades-old rules of engagement by firing warning shots. It appears, however, the Chinese are the ones closer to the truth: India’s troops are displaying newfound boldness”, Chang wrote.

India has effectively ditched these rules intended to limit casualties. “The game has changed,” Paskal told me. “You can say the Indians are more aggressive or more aggressively defensive, but they are in fact bolder and better”, Chang says.

“The Chinese army’s failures on the Indian border will have consequences. As an initial matter, they give Xi an excuse to pick up the pace of replacing adversaries in the armed forces with loyal elements. Heads, therefore, will roll, Chang has warned.

The article said, “More important, the failures motivate China’s aggressive ruler-who as chairman of the Party’s Central Military Commission, is the leader of the PLA-to launch another offensive against Indian positions”.

Beginning in early May, Chinese forces advanced south of the Line of Actual Control, the temporary border between the two giants, principally in three separate areas in Ladakh, high in the Himalayas.

The boundary is not well-defined, and for years Chinese troops trespassed into Indian-controlled territory, especially after Xi became Party general secretary in November 2012.

“The May incursions took New Delhi by surprise. As Cleo Paskal of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies tells Newsweek, Moscow in April had assured India that large-scale Chinese maneuvers in its Tibet Autonomous Region were not preparations for a move below the Line”, the opinion piece said.

Chang added that Beijing is accustomed to getting its way in disputed territory, especially because Indian leaders and soldiers, “psychologically paralysed” by their loss in the 1962 border war with China, played only defence.

Paralyzed no more. China is thought to have suffered at least 43 deaths in the Galwan clash. Paskal says the number of Chinese killed could exceed 60. Indian troops fought back ferociously. Beijing won’t admit the extent of the debacle.

Then, beginning late last month, for the first time in a half-century, India carried out an offensive against China, taking back high ground the Chinese recently grabbed. China’s forces were surprised when Indian troops mounted their attempt to retake strategic high points. Stunned Chinese soldiers retreated, Chang wrote.