Ananth Krishnan

BEIJING: China on Thursday rejected suggestions that incursions by its troops into the Indian territory were on the rise, and cautioned India that any move to increase troop presence along the disputed border in Arunachal Pradesh “would only lead to a rivalry between the two countries.”

Arunachal Pradesh Governor J.J. Singh said earlier this week that two Army divisions of around 30,000 soldiers each would be deployed along the disputed border as part of a “planned augmentation of [India’s] capabilities to defend the country.” Mr. Singh’s statement followed reported claims from officials that Chinese incursions into Indian territory had become more frequent in the past one year.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters on Thursday that China “cannot accept such an allegation.”

Mr. Qin said: “China and India have never demarcated the border. To resolve this issue at an early date is one of the 10 strategies to improve China-India relations. The two countries have reached a consensus on resolving this issue, and we hope the two countries will follow the 10 principles and jointly safeguard stability and tranquillity in the border areas. China has always followed such an attitude to settle the issue.”

Mr. Singh’s statement evoked a strong reaction from the local media and political analysts in China.

The People’s Daily, official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, said in an editorial on Thursday that a decision to move more troops to the border would lead to a rivalry between the two countries, and asked the Indian government to consider “whether or not it can afford the consequences of a potential confrontation with China.”

It said, “China is seen in India as both a potential threat and a competitor to surpass. But India can’t actually compete with China in a number of areas, like international influence, overall national power and economic scale. India apparently has not yet realised this.”

The paper described as “wishful thinking” that “gratitude for India’s restraint” in joining the “ring around China” established by the United States and Japan would see China deferring to Indian demands on territorial disputes.

“China won’t make any compromises in its border disputes with India,” it said.

While both China and India have agreed in principle to maintain “peace and tranquillity” along the disputed border, talks have made modest progress.

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