Salman Khurshid, Indian foreign minister, will visit Beijing next month in spite of mounting criticism from opposition parties over New Delhi’s conciliatory response to a Chinese military incursion across the disputed Himalayan border.
“We can’t destroy years of investment in our relationship because something goes wrong,” Mr Khurshid told a meeting of business leaders in New Delhi on Thursday. He said it was “absurd” to suggest that the current stand-off with Beijing over a Chinese patrol encamped in Ladakh for the past 10 days would derail the friendship.
Indian politicians and the media, however, have become increasingly agitated about what they see as an attempt by China’s new leaders to test the will of their weaker southern neighbour in an area that was engulfed in the border war launched by China in 1962.
“People are really angry,” said Prakash Javadekar, spokesman for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, the main opposition to the governing coalition led by the Congress party. “The issue of the incursion of China in Ladakh is a serious issue and government is not taking it that seriously.”
Indian newspapers and television stations reported that China had sent helicopters across the disputed Line of Actual Control, while India had deployed unmanned drones to monitor the contested camp but otherwise kept its response low-key. “India sends out doves, China sends in chopper,” said the main front-page headline of the Hindustan Times on Thursday.
India has asked at two meetings on the ground and in telephone conversations for China to return to the status quo, but China has denied crossing the line at all and says it is conducting normal patrols.
Li Keqiang, China’s new premier, is due to visit India and Pakistan next month after Mr Khurshid’s visit to Beijing on May 9. New Delhi has so far refrained from strident criticism of Beijing over the border row, although Ranjan Mathai, Indian foreign secretary, did express “the concerns of the government of India” to Chinese ambassador Wei Wei last week.
以国大党(Congress party)为首的印度执政联盟的主要反对党——印度人民党(Bharatiya Janata party)发言人普拉卡什?雅瓦德卡尔(Prakash Javadekar)说，“人们非常愤怒，中国在达拉克地区的越境入侵问题很严重，但政府没有严肃对待这个问题。”
印度报纸和电视台报道，中国出动直升机越过有争议的实际控制线(Line of Actual Control)，而印度只是部署无人机监视有争议的营地，除此之外保持低调回应。《印度时报》(Hindustan Times)周四的头版头条标题称：“印度放飞鸽子，中国出动直升机”。