India to continue ‘disturbing’ China with border issues in 2018: expert

India to continue ‘disturbing’ China with border issues in 2018: expert

BEIJING: China should be on high alert as New Delhi might continue to disturb Beijing on border issues, experts warned after a senior Indian cabinet official visited India's border police troops on Sunday to celebrate the New Year.

Indian Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived at the "Indo-Tibetan Border Police" camp establishment in Matli on the India-China border to spend the New Year with the Indian force.

On New Year's Day, the Indian minister would proceed to the Nelang valley to meet soldiers and take stock of the situation at about ten border posts located in the Nelang valley including the Naga and PDA posts before returning to Delhi.

‘The minister's visit is essentially a provocative move after the Doklam standoff in 2017, for the so-called 'Indo-Tibetan Border Police,' which recruits multiple nationalities, has strong connections with the Dalai Lama clique," Wang Dehua, head of the Institute for South and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Municipal Center for International Studies, told the Global Times.

Their duty is mainly spying on China's border area for potential border conflicts, Wang added.

Although the two sides have returned to a stable track on developing normal bilateral ties due to a series of diplomatic mechanisms including the recently held border talks, there are still unsettled disputes on the China-India border, said Qian Feng, a researcher at the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies and a senior fellow of Tsinghua University's National Strategy Institute.

India will continue to cause drama on the border, so China should not relax its vigilance, said Qian. However, the conflict scales are likely to shrink from those of the Doklam standoff, as New Delhi is fully aware of Beijing's strong determination to safeguard its territorial sovereignty after the 2017 dispute, he noted.

"As a matter of fact, the Indian government has lifted addressing border issues to a pressing agenda, and seeks to resolve such issues as early as possible, for it fears China will grow too strong to deal with by 2030," said Wang, adding that "Besides visiting the disputed border area, India will very likely continue to strengthen its military presence on the border."