Brushing off all cautionary rhetorics of the Chinese media, the Indian Army is psyched-up for a long standoff in Doklam region, unwilling to quit its claim on the Bhutan tri-junction. In the last 19 days, China exonerated a barrage of choleric threats, criticizing India on the Doklam standoff, but our ‘jawans’ have pitched up tents in the disputed region, clearly indicating they won’t edge off unless the neighbors reciprocate by ending the face-off in the Sikkim section. It is India’s preoccupation with Pakistan that fashioned the ongoing deadlock at Sino-India border, as Indians underestimated other hostile neighbors, particularly China while formulating its defense tactics.
Until today, the Indian army framed most of its border strategies vis-à-vis Pakistan, notwithstanding China’s silent antics in the east. In the light of recent issues, we can’t help but wonder if it’s too late to say that things are going to change for good, this time.
What Sparked a Confrontation between the Countries?
China’s ‘Belt and Road initiative’ triggered a standoff near the Bhutan trijunction. For months, the Chinese were trying to build a road to Pakistan, traversing India and Bhutan. Both countries disapproved the project because the road link will give China and Pakistan military advantage over India and Bhutan.
The center tried to coax China to give up on this project. Nonetheless, the mechanism hasn’t worked so far, considering that China attempted to establish its claim in Doklam. The disputed Doklam region is the trijunction between India, China, and Bhutan. Bhutan recognizes it as ‘Dokalam’ whereas India and China have named it ‘Doka La’ and ‘Donglang’ respectively.
According to the Chinese, Indian troops trespassing into the Chinese territory was the actual reason behind the border skirmish. As of now, none of the parties show signs of easing. To top it, China that is reluctant to comprise is counting on India to withdraw its troops. Nevertheless, the political experts believe that a unipartite approach cannot defuse the tension brewing up at the borders.
The Indian defense wing has set up a steady line of supplies for soldiers at Doka La. It seems that they aren’t going to wilt under pressure. Concurrently they’re open to diplomatic talks to solve the impending dispute. For now, they had agreed to execute the ‘2012 mechanism’ to resolve the flare-up through consultation. The Chinese tried to engage Bhutan into a bilateral conversation. Indians resented the idea, as they have an equal say in the tri-junction conversation.
Why shouldn’t Indians Underestimate China?
Unlike Pakistan, Indian policy makers never saw China as their peer. India and China have shared a fragile bond since the ‘partition’ due to a series of wars fought in the past. Both countries won their independence at the same time but China’s great leap laid the foundation of a strong, militarily powerful and economically sound nation. Today, it is one of the largest economies in the world, spreading their business all over the world.
Experts believe that India and China cannot indulge in a full-scale war because both sides would suffer financially. In any case, India, being wayward in the lack of a defense minister needs to gear up for the worst. It’s high time we need to find a permanent solution to border flare-ups once and for all.