Small mistakes can be costly, says former NSA


Small miscalculations in a tense standoff between India and China in the Himalayas could lead to big mistakes, a former national security adviser in India said on Wednesday.Troops on both sides have been engaged in a dispute since May and in June a fatal clash killed 20 Indian soldiers. China has not disclosed whether its troops suffered any casualties. New Delhi and Beijing are in talks to defuse the situation and disengage completely, but the two sides have accused each other in recent weeks of crossing the informal border.

“I realize how small miscalculations lead to big mistakes,” MP Narayanan told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” Wednesday. Narayanan previously served as a National Security Advisor between 2005 and 2010 and has spent most of his career in the public service working in intelligence.

“I think the powers in India at least know it and understand it. I’m not sure if the current Chinese leadership fully understands this, ”he said, adding that he was worried,“ if there are sober voices that can influence (president) Xi’s thinking. ”

“We are in a situation that has many dangerous possibilities. So I think we are in a tough time ahead, ”Narayanan said.

This week, New Delhi and Beijing accused each other of shooting in the air as the confrontation resumed at the unmarked border where opposing troops are positioned nearby.

The Indian Foreign Ministry said Chinese soldiers attempting to approach one of the Indian forward positions along the de facto border known as the Real Line of Control fired “a few shots in the air. to try to intimidate their own troops ”.

China’s Foreign Ministry said Indian troops “illegally crossed the line” and “openly fired shots to threaten Chinese border patrol personnel who approached them for performances.” India has denied that its troops crossed the line or resorted to aggressive means.

As the opposing troops are stationed not far from each other, a fatal misfire could lead to a serious escalation and greater confrontation between the nuclear-weapon rivals, according to Narayanan.

Guns are restricted in border areas under a previous deal, implying this week’s confrontation further exacerbates the risks of the border standoff.

The confrontation at the border has also worsened bilateral Sino-Indian relations, with New Delhi erecting barriers to Chinese investment in the Indian economy for reasons of national security. This includes restricting Chinese investment in Indian tech companies and banning many popular Chinese apps, including the TikTok short video sharing app.


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