A short online video discussing the recent border issue between China and India has sparked a heated discussion among netizens from the region and beyond.
The video, using a talk-show format and titled “Why India is wrong in Doklam standoff with China,” argued why Indians troops were wrong in trespassing into Chinese territory in June. The video, made by China’s state media Xinhua News Agency, has received some 400,000 views, as well as thousands of likes and comments on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube after being posted last Friday.
The Doklam area lies in the midst of a three-way Himalayan junction between China, the northeast of India and the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Indian and Bhutanese netizens argued about the issue on the Facebook page of China Xinhua News, where the video was posted. An Indian user named Ajoy Kumar Bora commented that China had been trying to occupy Doklam, which should be part of Bhutan, and “India has been looking after the defense and foreign affairs of Bhutan since 1947.”
This was refuted by Tshering Dorji, a Bhutanese, who said that the treaty of 1949 which allows India to assist Bhutan in external affairs has been scrapped.
“I am a citizen of Bhutan. We never sought Indian help in Doklam over the Chinese Road Construction Party,” Dorji wrote.
In mid-June, Indian border troops crossed the China-India boundary at the Sikkim section and entered Chinese territory, obstructing normal Chinese border troop activity in Doklam, which resulted in the standoff.
The video cited the 1890 Convention between Great Britain and China relating to Sikkim and Tibet to prove that Doklam belongs to China. The agreement has been reconfirmed under a UN Charter, in writing, by successive Indian governments.
“I think what India is doing in China is wrong,” commented an Indian netizen named Udit Vyas.
Some Indians maintain an impartial stance, saying that “the future of the world lies in the great relationship between India and China,” while “war never brings profit to both.” “We must think how to compromise the matter,” Michael Kshetrimayum from India said.
Netizens from around the globe also joined the discussion.
Jay Willard from Canada said that “it is clear that India is the aggressor in this dispute. India needs to withdraw its troops from Chinese territory if military conflict is to be avoided.”
An American netizen called Doug Williams, who shared the video, said the talk show was an “honest and straightforward analysis on the situation.”
Robbie Robertson from New Zealand proposed the Belt and Road Initiative as a way out, asking “why won’t India move towards prosperity and happiness, build a super highway to join with the Silk Road and move in the right direction?”
The initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa on and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.
Many believed that the tension should be resolved “through mediation” and “amicable settlement.”
India “should have brotherly cooperation among neighboring countries and decide things amicably to avoid war,” said Amir Sohail, a Pakistani.
“We kindly urge the Indian government to immediately and peacefully withdraw the Indian troops from Chinese territory,” said Ningwa Limbu from Nepal.
According to the video, “China has shown utmost restraint and tolerance” for India “by trying to persuade it.” It pointed out that China should not be considered as an enemy by the Indian side.
“What’s blocking India’s development? Not China, but common problems facing developing countries like corruption, a lack of quality education, healthcare and reforms,” the video said.
Anirudha Chakrabarty from India commented that “historically India and China have always had a symbolic relation, why should it change now? We need China as a friend not as an enemy.”
The video also addressed this question. “The whole notion of a dragon-elephant rivalry, or China-India showdown, was cooked by the West and fanned by nationalist politicians and media in India,” it said. Apart from presenting facts concerning the border issue, the video provided suggestions on how to solve the tense situation. “Instead of fanning paranoia of war with China, India should strengthen security cooperation with its largest neighbor,” it said.
The video also gathered support from Chinese people on social media platforms such as Wechat and Weibo (a Twitter-like Chinese microblogging platform). “We need to let the truth be exposed to the international community,” some Chinese netizens said. “We will speak out loud, but we also love peace.”
The video concludes with a call for cooperation: “China and India both stand to lose in a war with each other... it is only wise to work shoulder by shoulder and unleash an enormous potential.”