Hongkong's South China Morning Post (September 26) reported that Retired Lt General Wang Hongguang, former Commander of the PLA Eastern Theatre Command and Deputy Commander of the Nanjing Military Region, warned on his social media account on September 23, that China should stay on the alert for surprise attacks by India along its disputed Himalayan border with India. He said India doubling its troops in the area is an indicator. Stating that India needs only 50,000 troops to maintain the LAC, he said: “India has doubled or tripled its troops near the Line of Actual Control; they are mostly stationed within 50km (31 miles) of Chinese territory, and they could easily cross into China in a few hours.” He said the Chinese military could not afford to let down their guard before mid-November. The South China Morning Post also quoted Hong Kong-based military commentator Song Zhongping, who said China needs to tread carefully in relation to the additional Indian troops in the disputed region. He said “India always thinks it is in an inferior position and doesn’t accept the so-called Line of Actual Control. So it’s possible that they will initiate attacks to take back the region that Indians see as belonging to them.” Zhou Chenming, a Beijing-based military specialist, said rising nationalist sentiment in India and the big difference between the two countries over the need for troops in the area might prompt India to be more adventurous and opportunistic. He said, “The high nationalistic sentiment in India leaves no room for Indian troops to step back, so I think there is a high possibility of a long-term stand-off”.

(Comment: Lt General Wang Hongguan's warning comes around the same time as Liu Zongyi's article in the Global Times. Wang Hongguang issued the warning in an article published on Li Jian, a defence-related social media account on September 23. Lt General Wang Hongguang is a 'military princeling' and was a member of the 12th CPPCC.)

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