Doklam: PLA gen snubs hawks baying for India’s blood
BEIJING: China has signalled that it is unhappy with hawks demanding military action against India after the Doklam episode. The government's views came from a major general of the People's Liberation Army, who said the anti-India commentators do not have a "clear understanding of China's strategic positioning".
"China and India are both neighbours and competitors, but not all competitors must be treated in the toughest way," Maj Gen Qiao Liang, also military strategist, wrote in the Beijing-based Global Times.
Being a sitting PLA officer — his current seniority indicates he's well regarded by authorities — it's evident he was speaking for the government, which is keen on advancing business ties with India.
Qiao had in 1999 co-authored 'Unrestricted Warfare', a well-received book discussing how a nation like China could defeat a technologically superior opponent (such as the US) through "smart power".
The Chinese government has been under pressure from hawks who've been asking why it entered into an agreement with India at Doklam instead of giving it a bloody nose. Qiao's article is obviously the government's reply to this criticism ahead of a crucial Communist Party Congress, which will determine the next batch of top leaders in October.
Qiao wrote: "The Doklam confrontation was solved in the way it should have been... we should spare no efforts to avoid pushing the country into a war as peace is the best outcome." This is the first time since the Doklam crisis that a Chinese military officer has talked about the need to avoid war.
"Many people would say that road construction in China's territory was none of India's business. Is this belief right? It's reasonable to some extent because road construction in this area is not a matter of right and wrong, but we need to understand that it's not always right to do something right at any time. Only doing the right thing at the right time is correct," Qiao said.
The officer even challenged Communist dreamers who believe China should exert its military capabilities to give itself a dominant position.
"Many people think that... only war can demonstrate China's power. But resorting to war is irresponsible... Whenever there may be a way to solve a conflict without war, war should be avoided," he said. His comments are pertinent as economically backward North Korea has kept countries on tenterhooks with its threat of using nuclear missiles.
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