Last two weeks have witnessed increasing and loud anti-China rhetoric from the Indian establishment, opposition and mainstream media, blaming the Chinese forces of infiltrating the Line of Actual Control in the Ladakh/Aksai Chin region. So far, Beijing has remained cool and calm and has advised the Indian establishment to clear its position on the issue.

Lying in the harsh and freezing heights of Himalayas, Daulat Beg Oldi is a quiet place near the old Silk Route; that  is where India has accused China of a strategic infiltration of the Line of Actual Control.

The Chinese media realised it a bit late that the Indian mainstream media was going beyond limits to malign China for an incident, which never occurred at the first place. One of the vastly read and followed Chinese newspapers, Global Times, described the situation in following words:  “The Indian government ought to clarify the so-called ‘intrusion’ in a timely way and assume the responsibility of maintaining a good atmosphere. However, it hasn't done so. It has remained silent and ambiguous, which indulges Indian media habits.

“The Indian media have continuously created trouble for the Sino-Indian relationship. India seems to be in the driving seat of the bilateral relationship.

“The Indian policy toward China can be fickle, while China's levers for balancing the relationship are much simpler and scarcer. Therefore, the Indian media and opposition should be balanced, so as to prevent them from enjoying privileges outside intergovernmental communications and negotiations.

“Either the Indian government should stand up to report true information to Indian society, or it should let Chinese public opinion contend with India's.

“Staking claims to its borders is of crucial significance to China, and peace and stability along the border are also vital to India. Current peace and status quo is not bestowed by India alone.”

Whereas, the Chinese have been more balanced and accommodating in dealing with their uneasy neighbour in the south, the Indian media, its military establishment and major political parties have raised the ante and made the entire issue into a strategic problem.

An Indian newspaper, The Hindu, ran a reaction story of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership to Chinese incursions on April 29. It maintained:  “In an interaction with selected audience, Mr Jaitley said ‘although it was a serious issue concerning the nation’s security, the Centre had left everyone clueless on how it was going to deal with this issue and what policy it would follow in this regard.

“Moreover, it was highly condemnable that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had termed it a localised problem. Dr Singh must take a serious note of the issue and take all political parties into confidence. The BJP would support any such move. It was acting responsibly on this issue. But our patience is running out, so is the patience of people’.

“India should take a firm stand on such serious issues and the government must explore various instruments such as military, diplomatic, international pressure, the issue of Tibetan autonomy and such others to handle this issue.”

Needless to say, India has maintained a very strange relationship with all of its neighbours. Most of the time, this relationship has had been tailored to address the Indian anxiety derived from the past history of 2,000 years and, more recently, for building a false clout of its greatness.

The Indian establishment and media have always blamed India’s neighbours for most of the ills related to security and poor governance in the Union. However, the track record shows something reverse.

India occupied Kashmir in 1947; fought a war with China in 1962 and suffered humiliation; absorbed Sikkim in the 60s; dismembered Pakistan in 1971, created the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) through its prime intelligence agency, the RAW, and then through a classic Chanakya strategy intervened in Sri Lanka to help it fight the LTTE. India has subjugated Bhutan to a subordinate status; it steals Bangladeshi and Pakistani waters being upper riparian and robs Nepalese electricity by making dams inside Nepal being a lower riparian; and has also intervened in the Maldives. So, who is left?

That reminds one of India’s latest adventure in Afghanistan where it has used 10 Indian consulates and RAW operators to keep the Durand Line on fire through proxy war and terrorism campaign in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Some analysts have even blamed India for fomenting tensions in the Chinese state of Sinkiang and Tibet. One must remember that the Indian establishment played a dirty game during the Beijing Olympics by involving the Tibetan dissidents when the Olympic torch passed through India.

On a historical note, the Indo-China conflict across the Himalayas dates back to British times when they arbitrarily demarcated the international border with China and vast swaths of bordering territory remained in dispute. Following the independence of both countries, the issue of border dispute has been surfacing regularly and resulted into a major war in 1962. Pundit Nehru’s forward policy in the Himalayas was effectively checked and rolled back by the PLA when the Chinese forces not only destroyed the Indian military capability in Aksai Chin and NEFA (current Arunachal Pradesh), but also set the tone of future political discourse in this dispute.

The current Indian rhetoric may be a ploy to gain politico diplomatic advantage against China at the behest of powers that be; India has played on the psyche and anxiety of the West against a rising China and still tries to woo Chinese in forums like the BRICs. The change of guard in Beijing and President Xi Jinping’s proactive foreign policy (which is the need of the hour) may look for an opportunity to solve all outstanding disputes with Chinese neighbours with more determination and honour. India is, probably, miscalculating China’s resolve as it did in 1962.

The writers are freelance columnists based in Zimbabwe.