Chinese govt mouthpiece Global Times takes aim at India's economic credentials after a week of tirades against Indian Army

FP Staff

Even as the Chinese foreign ministry announced Tuesday that the People's Liberation Army and the Indian Army have agreed to take necessary measures to "cool down" the situation along the Line of Actual Control, recent coverage of the situation by Beijing's mouthpiece Global Times is a patchwork of anti-India tirades and attacks on India's economic credentials.

The op-eds in the state-run newspaper made a mockery of the seething anti-Beijing sentiments among Indians, while asking India to not "provoke" China.

Until a week ago, the focus was on deprecating India's military prowess and taunting it with the might of China's PLA  even as the generals of both armies sat across each other to negotiate de-escalation.

"India will be more humiliated than after the 1962 border conflict with China if it cannot control anti-China sentiment at home and has a new military conflict with its biggest neighbour," Global Times declared in an op-ed published Sunday.

It went on to praise China's restraint, while advising India to not 'provoke' Beijing.

"China is being very restrained in its efforts to avoid conflict, but this does not mean China is afraid of provocation or aggression from any country, especially India. Chinese military observers said that an escalated, large-scale military conflict involving main Chinese troops, if that were to happen, would mean a rout just like the war in 1962, with very disproportionate casualty figures unfavorable to India. Because the Chinese military has an informationized combat system that integrates all troops, weapons and equipment together, while also having very disciplined troops and officers with advanced tactical awareness, they noted," the article said.

In another article, it picked up on news reports that the Modi government has given a 'free hand' to forces in exceptional circumstances after 20 soldiers were killed.

"Although 'complete freedom of action' is the Modi administration's appeasement to the Indian army and public opinion, it is extremely irresponsible. It shows that India may be tearing up the two countries' most important agreements, and this will seriously increase the two troops' mutual distrust and add to the possibility of unwanted military conflicts. It is also against the consensus reached by the two sides' foreign ministers to cool down the situation in the Galwan Valley," a Global Times article said.

It also warned India of a humiliating defeat in a full fledged war, projecting the Indian military as being undisciplined.

"We would like to warn India's feverish nationalists not to lead New Delhi down the wrong path, and not allow India to repeat past mistakes,"  the state-run daily said.

"Indian troops use weapons made from all over the world, which means a high logistical support cost and incompatibility between systems. India will find the maintenance and repairing of these weapons difficult in the battlefield, and the incompatibility means that many of these weapons cannot be used together or share information, and they would have to fight only loosely together in which friendly fire can become possible. The Chinese troops mainly use domestically developed weapons and equipment, and they are trained for maximum efficiency in an integrated system of information sharing, which is a huge advantage in modern warfare," Global Times reported quoting unnamed Chinese experts.

Now the focus seems to have shifted to India's economic strength as campaigns to boycott Chinese-made goods echo louder on Indian social media.

In an article, that seeks to 'debunk' reports that 'boycott China' merchandise were being manufactured in China, Global Times quoted Quora responses and online images to claim such reports were afloat in India, then quoted 'sources' to claim they were false.

"Neglecting the fact that these items were not made in China, a conspiracy theory has appeared on social media that attacked Chinese exporters for intentionally irritating Indian customers to boost their own sales," Global Times said adding a quote from social media platform Quora.

Another op-ed published on Monday said that such calls to derail trade pacts were 'suicidal'.

"India has recently intensified tensions with China following a fatal border clash. There is a campaign to boycott Chinese products and Indian authorities are reportedly mulling higher trade barriers. These are undoubtedly suicide paths for India's economic development," the article said.

It also claimed that the Indian economy will not be able to find alternatives to Chinese products it seeks to boycott.

"Restricting imports or investment from China under globalised value chains is not simple for India as East Asian countries have developed highly integrated industrial chains. The restrictions will inevitably hinder its cooperation with other countries and worsen India's business environment in the long run," Global Times said, while claiming that the rising border tensions were India's attempts to " relieve some pressure from virus prevention efforts".

In another editorial, the newspaper sought to underplay the impact of vast Indian markets on global trade. It said that India was an easily replaceable market if the Indian government did not offer protection to Chinese businesses against anti-China sentiments.

"If the boiling nationalist sentiment continues unchecked in India, it may lead to serious consequences in extreme cases, which would only weaken that market's appeal to the outside world, making it easier to be replaced with other Southeast Asian markets," the report said.

Another article claimed that since China's trade with India only accounts for about 2 percent of its total exports, whereas China has been a top trading partner of India for years, indicating that the former could inflict more damage on India.

"It is irrational for India to heat tensions or reduce economic ties with China as the two countries are not in the same heavyweight class. China has been a top trading partner of India for years, while China's exports to India have accounted for about 2 percent of its total exports," the article said.

Also See: Ladakh face-off: India, China armies agree to disengage along LAC after commanders' meet; Beijing dismisses reports of 40 Chinese casualties

'Surender Modi': Rahul Gandhi's latest swipe at prime minister over India's Galwan Valley stand-off with China

Disinformation is no substitute for diplomacy: Manmohan Singh to Narendra Modi after PM denies Chinese incursion into India

Read more on India by Firstpost.