The Chinese media on Sunday welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on the border, made at Friday’s all-party meet, saying they would pave the way for de-escalation.

The Communist Party-run Global Times quoted Mr. Modi as saying: “Nobody has intruded into our border, neither is anybody there now, nor have our posts been captured,” a comment that was reported by several media outlets and shared on social media as well. The newspaper reported that while the PM had given the armed forces full freedom, he had “also appeared to downplay the clash”. “Chinese observers said Modi is trying to respond to the nationalists and hardliners with tough talk, but he understands his country cannot have further conflict with China so he is also making an effort to cool tensions,” the paper said.

“Modi’s remarks will be very helpful to ease the tensions because as the Prime Minister of India, he has removed the moral basis for hardliners to further accuse China,” Lin Minwang, a professor at Fudan University’s Center for South Asian Studies in Shanghai, told the paper. “When India is in conflict with Pakistan or other neighbours, nationalism might drive New Delhi to take actual operations, but when it comes to China, it is a different story.”

Wei Dongxu, a military expert, said the PM’s comments on the armed forces being allowed to take necessary steps was “a show of strength for domestic audiences to appease the Indian masses and boost the Indian troops’ morale”. On Union Minister Gen. V.K. Singh (retd.) saying China had lost at least 40 soldiers, the paper said he wanted “to placate the nationalists by making speculations and satisfy the hardliners.”

Also read: Ladakh face-off | Armed forces ‘given free hand’ to respond to situation at LAC

In an article in the China Daily on Saturday, analyst Lan Jianxue of the China Institute of International Studies blamed the “the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party pushing forward its ultranationalist Hindutva agendas one after another through aggressive domestic and foreign policies”. “The unilateral change of Kashmir’s autonomous status by India heightened tensions with Pakistan while the inclusion of Chinese territory into its so-called newly formed Union Territory of Ladakh triggered the confrontation with China on the border,” he said.

He referred to the PM’s remarks from 2018 saying there were “occasional incidents in the border areas due to differing perceptions about the Line of Actual Control” and both countries had managed to resolve those peacefully. “It is hoped that India will abide by that statement,” he added.

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