NEW DELHI: China stepping up the pressure on India to withdraw its troops from Doklam has now described Ladakh as “a disputed area between China, Pakistan and India in southeastern Kashmir” in a deliberate move to open another front in the increasingly complicated borders issue.

The latest commentary run by Xinhua, China’s official news agency, makes it clear that India should not look on the current face off as the same as the 2013 and 2014 “stand-offs” near Ladakh as diplomatic efforts then had led “the troops frictions there to a well-arranged end. But this time it is a totally different case.”

And how different has been underline by the “a disputed area” phrase introduced after the mention of Ladakh, thereby opening a new front along with Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim in the current instance.

The commentary makes it clear that China sees “intense nationalism” groups, and remarks by officials as reasons for the continuing stand off. And makes it clear that while diplomacy is still a preferred option for Beijing it could come into play only if India withdraws its troops from Doklam unconditionally.

The Xinhua commentary makes the following relevant points, that add an extra dimension to the border face off and basically sum up China’s position today:

  1. Ladakh is disputed;
  2. The current controversy between India and China is different, and will not be as easily resolved as earlier such disputes;
  3. India has crossed agreed on boundaries in the Sikkim sector;
  4. Indian troops crossed into “Chinese territory” in Doklam and have stayed there despite China’s efforts to “bring India back to reason”;|
  5. India first claimed the “encroachment’ was in its own territory and then said it had sent troops to protect Bhutan;
  6. Bhutan is a sovereign state and has sent out no such invitation;
  7. India will have to back off otherwise things will get worse;
  8. China will not negotiate on this, the troops have to be withdrawn by India;
  9. India has violated the fundamental principles of peaceful co-existence with China;
  10. And importantly China has flagged the reasons for this escalating crisis as a) “some Indian civil groups, tinted with intense nationalism, have been constantly stirring up anti-China sentiments even clamouring to boycott ‘the commodites of hostile countries’;” and b) “some senior officials of India made irrational remarks which further fueled unnecessary tension.”

At the end the commentary ended with what could be seen as a sliver of hope by the more optimistic mandarins in South Block, where Jaishankar’s recent remarks that India and China should not let differences become disputes, as “positive.” It also reiterated the “old Chinese saying, peace is most precious.” And again China has the will to resolve the issue diplomatically but for this India will have to withdraw its “trespassers” without conditions.