China’s State media have this past month waged a relentless campaign blaming India for “trespassing” into the Doklam region, where China’s road-building into territory claimed by Bhutan triggered a standoff on June 16.
Today, one Chinese English-language newspaper offered a rather bizarre explanation for the standoff: “rising Hindu nationalism in India”.
“India should be careful and not let religious nationalism push the two countries into war,” wrote columnist Yu Ning in the Party-run Global Times, a hawkish tabloid that doesn’t necessarily reflect official views and is known in China to often taken provocative stances aimed largely at raising the hackles of foreign audiences.
Yu’s commentary in the English-language edition, which is mainly read overseas, was headlined “Hindu nationalism risks pushing India into war with China”.
It said that “the election of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fuelled the country’s nationalist sentiments”, and argued that the Modi government “can do nothing if religious nationalism becomes extreme, as shown in its failure to curb violent incidents against Muslims since he came to power in 2014.”
‘MODI TOOK ADVANTAGE OF HINDU NATIONALISM’
“Modi took advantage of rising Hindu nationalism to come to power,” it added. “Nationalist fervour that demands revenge against China has taken root in India since the border war. This, on one hand, has enhanced his prestige and ability to control the country, but on the other, has made India more subject to the influence of conservatives, thus hampering reform. In diplomacy, New Delhi is demanded to act tougher in foreign relations, especially toward countries like Pakistan and China. The border row this time is an action targeted at China that caters to the demand of India’s religious nationalists.”
The commentary said that “regardless of China’s call urging India to withdraw its troops that have crossed the border, New Delhi has continued its provocation”.
“Where the China-India competition goes hinges on each side’s strength and wisdom,” it said. “India is weaker than China in terms of national strength, but its strategists and politicians have shown no wisdom in preventing India’s China policy from being kidnapped by rising nationalism. This will put India’s own interests in jeopardy.”