As India and China continue to be entangled in a bitter border standoff along the Line of Control (LoC) in eastern Ladakh, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on People’s Liberation of Army (PLA) troops to “put all (their) minds and energy on preparing for war”.
Xi is learnt to have made the comments while visiting a military base in the southern province of Guangdong on 14 October.
Xi asked the Chinese soldiers to “maintain a state of high alert” and called on them to be “absolutely loyal, absolutely pure, and absolutely reliable.” CNN attributed the Chinese president’s comments to Beijing’s state news agency Xinhua.
Xi’s visited Guangdong to deliver a speech to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. Notably, Xi, who is the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the comments amid heightened tensions between China and India and with the United States of America.
Xi also inspected the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Marine Corps in Chaozhou on 13 October.
7th India-China military talks “positive”
In an attempt to de-escalate simmering tensions along the LAC, India and China held the seventh round of military talks on 12 October. A joint statement from the two armies stated that though the talks were positive, there was no breakthrough in sight for speedy disengagement of troops.
The joint press statement said both sides arrived at a mutually acceptable solution for disengagement “as early as possible”.
“The two sides had a sincere, in-depth and constructive exchange of views on disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the western sector of India-China border areas,” the joint press statement which was released both in New Delhi and Beijing read.
However, a day later Beijing again reiterated that China does not recognise the Union Territory of Ladakh or the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian sated that the infrastructure build up by India along the border was the “root cause of tensions”.
“For a while, the Indian side has been stepping up infrastructure building and military deployment along the border with China. This is the root cause of tensions.
“We urge the Indian side to earnestly implement the consensus reached by the two sides, refrain from taking actions that will complicate the situation, and take concrete measures to safeguard peace and tranquility along the border,” he said.
The tensions between India and China escalated after PLA troops on the intervening night of 29 and 30 August undertook “provocative military movements” at Pangong Tso. The Indian Army pre-empted the Chinese movements and thwarted the attempt.
Following the incident, India significantly increased the number of troops at several friction points in Ladakh and strengthened its positions on critical mountain heights like Rechin La, Rezang La, Mukpari, and Tabletop, and on the southern bank of the Pangong Lake.