Doklam row: Top PLA officer admits time not right for road, slams hawkish Chinese Media

A People’s Liberation Army (PLA) official has suggested it might not have been “the right time” for China to carry out its road construction in Doklam and get embroiled in a stand-off with India.

In a commentary, PLA Major General Qiao Liang also slammed the hawkish voices in China that had demanded strong action from Beijing to expel Indian troops in Doklam as “irresponsible”, saying that “war should be avoided.”

“If they had a clear understanding of China’s strategic positioning,” wrote Major General Qiao, welcoming the August 28 disengagement by both sides after 72 days, “they would know that the settlement…was one of the best results possible.”

His commentary was a marked difference from the string of hawkish articles in the Chinese State media demanding strong action and even threatening war during the stand-off.

He wrote that while “many people would say that the road construction in China’s territory was none of India’s business”,  this argument was “reasonable to some extent because road construction in this area is not a matter of right and wrong, but we need to understand that it is not always right to do something right at any time”.

“Only doing the right thing at the right time is correct,” he added.

“So, with this principle in mind, one can understand that the Doklam confrontation was solved in the way it should have been. And the most important thing is that when you understand China’s strategic positioning and you cannot bring the entire world under your domination, you are willing to leave well enough alone. Only in this way can one completely reach his goal, otherwise, haste makes waste or the result and your desired outcome may even be poles apart.”

Responding to those voices in China that were calling for war, he wrote that “many people think that China has a powerful national strength, including a strong military power, thus only war can demonstrate China’s power”.

“But resorting to war is irresponsible for the country and the country’s future as war has always been the last resort to solve problems,” he said. “Whenever there may be a way to solve a conflict without war, war should be avoided.”

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