Chinese companies operating in India should be alert and take steps to avoid being hit by anti-China sentiment following tension between the two nations over the border standoff in the Sikkim section, a leading official newspaper here warned today. An article in the Global Times called on Chinese firms to reduce their investments in India in view of the tension.
Citing the sentiment that swept Vietnam in 2014 when many people were killed in riots after media reported that China fired water cannons at a Vietnamese vessel to frustrate moves by Hanoi to stop China’s resource extraction in the disputed South China Sea, the article said violent attacks against Chinese interests may happen in India “if the two countries see even small-scale military tension at the border.”
“Chinese companies operating in India need to be alert and take precautions to avoid being hit by anti-Chinese sentiment following tension on the border between the two countries.” Another article in the daily known for its nationalistic views tonight said, “many people believe Indian nationalism led to the country’s independence from British rule decades ago but now it is gradually evolving into an internal factor behind the anti-Chinese sentiment, which is fuelled by ethnic and religious factors.”
Quoting reports of Shiv Sena activists burning Chinese flags on the streets after China blocked India’s membership bid of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), it said, “India’s territorial issues can much more easily stir up local people’s nationalistic feelings.” Chinese firms, especially those in the retail and consumer electronics industries, should consider possible boycotts by Indians and ensure the safety of Chinese workers, the article said.
“Although India is a potential market, would-be investors from China should perhaps take a wait-and-see approach. In this context, new investment from China into India is likely to be reduced,” it said.
By 2015, accumulated Chinese investment in India reached USD 3.55 billion, and most of the Chinese firms doing business there saw a proportion of local employees of over 90 per cent, according to the article. “The fact that Indian troops recently crossed into Chinese territory will not necessarily lead to a withdrawal of Chinese firms from India, but New Delhi has to safeguard the security of Chinese-funded institutions against possible anti-China riots,” it said.
To make itself a promised land for Chinese manufacturers, India needs to “spare no effort” to maintain the stability of its economic ties with China, “even if that is not an easy thing to do”, the article said. Since the standoff on June 6, when the People’s Liberation Army destroyed bunkers of the India Army claiming the area belonged to China, Chinese media have carried several pieces blaming India for escalating border tension and “reminding” the Indian Army about the 1962 war.
Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim. Another article carried by China Military Online, the official website of the Chinese military, said, “Many Indians with vision say that it was a stupid option to let the China-India border issue escalate into confrontation because there is no winner in another armed conflict between two countries”.
“But the trespassing by Indian troops showed us that quite a number of people in India still hold on to the ‘Cold War’ mentality, think from the geopolitical perspective, and choose to view China’s road construction in its own territory as a ‘threat’ to India”, it said. “History tells us that the Chinese military has never lost its temper easily and never fired the first shot. It didn’t even want to fight the 1962 Counterattack in Self-Defence on China-India Border at first, but wanted to settle the issue through peaceful negotiations because China and India used to be friends and had similar experience in fighting against imperialism and colonialism,” it said.
“But those in India who still uphold ‘confrontation’ in this event should be fully aware of the fact that if a solution isn’t reached through diplomatic or military communication or the issue isn’t handled properly, another armed conflict between China and India is not completely out of the question,” it said. “Some Indians dare to provoke China and even claim that it’s not 1962 anymore probably because they don’t think China has military advantages at the border sector where the event took place. They mistakenly think that India is able to revenge itself by using the favourable terrain and its advantageous mountain division and air force on the border,” it said.