The Doklam Stand Off

The Doklam Stand Off

The month long stand-off between the Indian Army and their Chinese counterparts has been quite civilised as opposed to the war in 1962. But the stand-off itself has been the longest ever. Post 1962 the relation between the two countries has not been the best in the history of global relations but both the countries are trying hard to improve the situation since.

Amidst the tension between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Indian Army in the Doklam, an area in Sikkim that China claims as its own, the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi and Chinese President, Xi Jinping shook hands and greeted each other at an informal meeting of BRICS nations on 7th July 2017. They later discussed many issues. But there seems to be no bilateral or independent meeting happening between the two nations to look for a resolution of the issue at Doklam. According to experts the atmosphere is too sensitive for independent meetings on the issue.

Similarly, at the war front none of the sides are looking to take the first step down. But there is a hope that the situation will resolve without a war.

The nub of the issue:

Bhutan has always considered Doklam as one of its territories and the recent extension of its roads in the area by China is being considered as an encroachment gone too far. This has worried India on two fronts. Firstly, India wants to stand by it ally, Bhutan and that would put it in direct cross hairs of China. Secondly, the presence of Chinese armed forces in the narrow Indian territory between Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh becomes a pressing concern if a war was to ignite between the two nations. The Chinese would then easily cut the cord between North and North Eastern India.

From the Chinese point of view the territorial disagreement is between China and Bhutan and it is not India’s place to be a party to the quarrel.

Indian veterans and the Chinese media have argued that the situation looks very similar to that of the 1962 war and how the dreadful conflict began in the first place.

China is not known to go to battle without weighing the odds and the chance of success. At the same time India cannot be smug at the possibilities of its military prowess. Both the nations need to consider the effect of war on the global economy and trade cycles and back down simultaneously.

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