India needs to be taught the “rules” of dealing with disputes along the contested border, Chinese state media said, cautioning New Delhi not to mistake China’s usual silence on boundary problems as weakness, following the stand-off between border troops in Sikkim.

The state media article in Global Times said the Chinese government “must force the Indian troops to retreat to the Indian side by all means necessary”.

It further cautioned India not to be “arrogant” and reminded New Delhi that China is a far more powerful country, militarily and economically.

The report also blamed the Indian military for the stand-off, saying Chinese and Indian soldiers are locked in a face-off at the Sikkim section of the China-India border after Indian troops crossed the boundary and entered Chinese territory.

The state media warning follows statements by the Chinese ministries of defence and foreign affairs on Tuesday, slamming the Indian military for allegedly trespassing inside Chinese territory and preventing its troops from building a road.

The incident triggered a stand-off between the two militaries at the Nathu La pass in Sikkim and led to the suspension of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (KMY).

The sequence of events isn’t clear as India and China have given conflicting versions. But the statements and reactions from the Chinese government and its media show that this time Beijing is on the aggressive openly.

“China avoids making an issue of border disputes, which has indulged India’s unruly provocations. This time the Indian side needs to be taught the rules,” the nationalist tabloid said in the opinion piece.

“India cannot afford a showdown with China on border issues. It lags far behind China in terms of national strength and the so-called strategic support for it from the US is superficial,” it added.

Beijing wants to maintain friendly ties with New Delhi but the relationship must be based on mutual respect, the newspaper said.

“China has no desire to confront India. Maintaining friendly ties with New Delhi is Beijing’s basic policy. But this must be based on mutual respect. It’s not time for India to display arrogance toward China. India’s GDP is only one-quarter of China’s and its annual defence budget is just one-third. Having a friendly relationship and cautiously handling border issues with China is its best choice,” it said.

By Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing

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