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Thread: Border face-off: China and India each deploy 3,000 troops

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Funtastic View Post
    Well things must have giien worse for India since then as it was not able to garner enough soilders/security personal for the 2010 commonwealth games. As a consequence many of the public were unable to view the street events of Indias coming out show to the world.
    What has this got to do with the topic at hand? Please don't hijack this thread with nonsense.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Growing an economy isn't like growing an erection.


    According to the IMF WEO database, Kuwait grew 82.8% in real terms in 1992. Libya grew 106.5% in 2012.
    Equatorial Guinea grew 33% in 1992, 64.6% in 1996, 66.3% in 2001, 95.3% in 2000, and 147.7% in 1997. Thats a decade long average of 50.1%, 1992-2001.
    See: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/.../weoselgr.aspx
    And you mean ... what exactly?

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    When did the US grab/steal/occupy sovereign nation's lands?

    World sees China as global power, but for India US rules: Survey, dig deeper.


    In the past there was Mexican American war in which the US invaded Mexico and forced it to part whith huge parts of territoritory.

    In the modern era it prefers reigme change.

    Anyway I used the term "Powers" so perhaps you need to try harder

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    What has this got to do with the topic at hand? Please don't hijack this thread with nonsense.
    Currently I do not have an edit function, otherwise i would have included this part of your post which I have bolded in my reply

    "EW DELHI: Notwithstanding rise in China's power and military strength, Nathu La is physiologically a weak spot for the People's Liberation Army, akin to the Sino-Vietnam border, having lost to the Indian and Vietnamese counterparts in 1967 and 1979, respectively.

    The Indian military, overcoming the loss in 1962, had dealt a severe blow to PLA in 1967 in Nathu La sector that resulted in the death of 400 Chinese soldiers, a fact neither debated in Beijing nor Delhi"



    A flukey win in a battle does not win a war. After reading the Chinese version of events, it seems the Indian claim of 400 Chinese killed seems highly inflated.
    I made the comment about the Indian armed forces not being able to provide the Commonweath Games with the security that was required after the constant boasting on how much the Indian military has inproved.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Funtastic View Post
    In the past there was Mexican American war in which the US invaded Mexico and forced it to part whith huge parts of territoritory.

    In the modern era it prefers reigme change.

    Anyway I used the term "Powers" so perhaps you need to try harder
    We aren't talking about the past but the current border stand-off. So your point is moot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Funtastic View Post
    Currently I do not have an edit function, otherwise i would have included this part of your post which I have bolded in my reply

    "EW DELHI: Notwithstanding rise in China's power and military strength, Nathu La is physiologically a weak spot for the People's Liberation Army, akin to the Sino-Vietnam border, having lost to the Indian and Vietnamese counterparts in 1967 and 1979, respectively.

    The Indian military, overcoming the loss in 1962, had dealt a severe blow to PLA in 1967 in Nathu La sector that resulted in the death of 400 Chinese soldiers, a fact neither debated in Beijing nor Delhi"



    A flukey win in a battle does not win a war. After reading the Chinese version of events, it seems the Indian claim of 400 Chinese killed seems highly inflated.
    I made the comment about the Indian armed forces not being able to provide the Commonweath Games with the security that was required after the constant boasting on how much the Indian military has inproved.
    Since when have Singaporeans started studying the Chinese version of events?

    And btw, your argument again is flawed, as internal security for sporting events is provided by the Indian police and not the Indian Army.

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    We aren't talking about the past but the current border stand-off. So your point is moot.

    So you have resorted to being disingenuous when you know you are beat

    I was replying to your question see in brackets and there was no mention of dates
    ( When did the US grab/steal/occupy sovereign nation's lands?)


    Since when have Singaporeans started studying the Chinese version of events?

    What a stupid question which is not my worth time in answering

    And btw, your argument again is flawed, as internal security for sporting events is provided by the Indian police and not the Indian Army.
    One has to feel sorry for a country whose leaders "cant think outside the box" when after spending a tremendous amount of money show casing their country to the world.

  7. #52
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Funtastic View Post
    China is only continuing the tradition displayed by other world powers and its presence is welcomed by the majority of Asians in SE Asia who are more than willing to see the U.S. who is the biggest destabiliser in the region since ww2 to bugger off.
    China is actively trying to weaken ASEAN. So which south east asian countries are we talking about here ?

    India will be meeting them soon. All ten ASEAN leaders will be guests for India's republic day.

    The message is India supports ASEAN unity.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 14 Jul 17, at 08:57.

  8. #53
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    And you mean ... what exactly?
    Did you read the quote about India stealing the fast-growth crown from China?
    That's what it was about.
    Exactly.

  9. #54
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Business is business, politics is politics. India wants to continue business and will sort out the politics another way. We can have a sweet and sour relationship with China :D

    India has no intention to block Chinese investment: MHA | DH | Jul 05 2017

    Amid the ongoing tension between India and China, Government on Wednesday said it has no plans to put road blocks on Chinese investment in the country.

    A spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the government has no intention of slowing down on giving security clearance to Chinese companies in the wake of the latest border row near Sikkim.

    As per official statistics, China has invested USD 1.64 billion (Rs 10,094 crore) during April 2000 and March 2017, mostly in telecom, power, engineering and infrastructure sectors. The MHA is the nodal ministry that provides security clearance to foreign investment.

    "It is not under any consideration. Such issues are dealt with great deal of maturity by the concerned agencies at the appropriate level," the spokesperson said when asked whether the government was planning to go slow on giving security clearance to Chinese companies.

    As per the National Security Clearance Policy, the government has fixed around 15 parameters in nine sensitive sectors like telecom, ports and civil aviation for allowing foreign investment.

    A senior official said such incidents would not have major impact on investments and the government does not function this way. There are efforts to calm down tension and what is the need for such drastic steps, the official said.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 14 Jul 17, at 09:17.

  10. #55
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    an interesting take by retired Indian ambassador

    "A month-long India-China standoff in the tangled mountains of the Himalayas threatens to snowball into conflict. The circumstances are enveloped in thick fog endemic to those remote mountains at 10000 feet above sea level – and to the complicated India-China relationship.

    An analogy could be that China’s People’s Liberation Army units come down to the Siachen area, which is under India’s control, to advance Pakistan’s territorial claim, which Beijing also considers to be of strategic significance due to its proximity to Karakorum Highway and Xinjiang region. This needs some explanation.

    For a start, the location of the standoff is Doklam Plateau, which has been in China’s control on which Bhutan made a territorial claim only in 2000. (India drew Bhutan’s maps in the sixties, including the portion showing Doklam as Bhutanese territory.)

    The PLA has been undertaking infrastructure development in Dloklam but Indian military has chosen to contest the latest phase of road-building activity. Notionally, Delhi is acting at the request of Bhutan. (Bhutan says very little on the entire affair.)

    The Indian-establishment commentators have claimed that the road under construction in Doklam may improve PLA’s access to the ‘tri-junction’ that separates India’s state of Sikkim, Bhutan and China – in turn, bringing China’s military presence closer to the so-called Siliguri Corridor that connects India’s restive north-eastern states with the Indian ‘mainland’.

    There are sub-plots. The delimited border (demarcated with boundary pillars) between the Indian state of Sikkim and Tibet is the only settled segment of the 4000-kilometre long India-China border. Both countries accept the border defined under the Anglo-Chinese Convention of 1890.

    At this point, the fog thickens. The 1890 convention accurately depicts the ‘tri-junction’ between India (Sikkim), Bhutan and China, in terms of which the current arena of standoff (Doklam) comes under China. But then, Bhutan was not party to the 1890 convention.

    In sum, there is a China-Bhutan order dispute with regard to Doklam (on the basis of maps prepared in Delhi), and India has now intervened in the dispute physically to stop Chinese road construction activity in the region, apparently at Bhutan’s request.

    But India and Bhutan do not have a military pact. Their so-called Friendship Treaty (2007) no longer empowers India to guide Bhutan’s foreign policy and merely commits the two countries to coordinate on issues relating to national interests.

    Suffice to say, India has militarily intervened in the China-Bhutan border dispute over Doklam.

    [B]Unsurprisingly, China alleges that by doing so, India has violated the 1890 convention. This is a can of worms, because if the 1890 convention is revisited, Sikkim’s settled border with Tibet may also get re-opened – and, alongside, India’s annexation of Sikkim in 1975 too (something which Beijing accepted grudgingly only in 2003 in the context of an improvement in the overall Sino-Indian ties at that time.)

    Beijing insists that any discussions to resolve the current standoff can take place only if India withdrew forces from the Chinese territory (Doklam). It [/B]contends that this standoff is fundamentally different because India has violated a key principle by violating an international border (between China and Sikkim under the 1890 agreement), which is not under dispute.

    Delhi, which typically resorts to megaphone diplomacy apropos India-China border tensions, is maintaining exemplary reticence. As the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said once, those in Delhi who know do not speak, while those who speak either do not know or are dissimulating.

    There could be a range of motivations behind the Indian and Chinese calculus. Delhi could be calculating that:

    Sikkim is the only segment of the border with China where India enjoys military superiority, and PLA should not be allowed to neutralize it, no matter what it takes.
    A road link today and a railway line tomorrow – this could be ‘mission creep’ aimed at PLA gaining proximity to Siliguri Corridor.
    In political terms, Bhutan should remain anchored in Indian orbit. By inserting itself into the China-Bhutan border dispute, India becomes the elephant in the room.
    Bhutan has been the only South Asian country (other than India, of course), which has resisted the invidious charms of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and it must remain so.
    China will blink in the face of India’s ‘muscular diplomacy’, since PLA cannot afford a military confrontation in Sikkim region where India enjoys decisive advantage geographically and militarily.
    China must reckon with new realities – ‘India today is not the India of 1962… Indian Army is prepared for a two and a half front war.’
    The standoff would have resonance within Tibet where security situation remains fragile. (Interestingly, last weekend, Indian authorities allowed the government-in-exile mentored by the Dalai Lama to defiantly post a Tibetan flag of independence in Ladakh region on Chinese border.)
    Strident nationalism works fine in India’s domestic politics. (The opposition parties anticipate a snap poll in 2018.)
    As regards Beijing’s motivations, apart from any ‘mission creep’ vis--vis Siliguri Corridor, the following leitmotifs may be discerned:

    First and foremost, the relations with India have perceptibly deteriorated in the past 2-3 years due to Delhi’s perceived pro-US ‘tilt’. Second, China has a sense of vulnerability vis--vis the security situation in Tibet. Doklam forms part of Chumbi Valley, which leads to Lhasa.

    Intrinsically, China focuses on the development of the Yadong region of Tibet, which is connected to Lhasa already via a highway and soon with a branch line of the China-Tibet railway. China consistently believed that Tibet’s (or Xinjiang’s) stabilization is best tackled through rapid economic development.

    Again, China is surely monitoring the delicate India-Bhutan diplomatic tango and is not willing to believe that there is no daylight possible between Delhi and Thimpu – even if Delhi projects it as an all-weather friendship.

    To be sure, if the India-China standoff in Doklam continues, how it would begin to impact Bhutanese national sensitivities remains to be seen. Finally, China factors in that India finds itself in an untenable position with regard to the Anglo-Chinese accord of 1890.

    All in all, the important thing today is to manage the narrative in a way that does not lead to war. India has an option to withdraw the troops in Doklam and begin discussions. This need not necessarily mean loss of face, because Beijing remains open to discussing India’s concerns.

    But the catch is that, quintessentially, India has to leave it to China and Bhutan to resolve their differences and disputes. India can leverage Bhutan’s stance but cannot assume a ‘hands-on’ role for all time, since the optics of Bhutan being a sovereign country come into play.

    China’s Belt and Road Initiative gives an added dimension, if Bhutan at some point chooses to follow Nepal’s footfalls. (Even a ‘regime change’ in Kathmandu failed to dissipate the Nepali elites’ fascination for the ‘Belt and Road’.)

    India’s best bet is that China will need time to build up forces in Doklam area. China can open other fronts where it may have vast superiority, but then, China’s preoccupations elsewhere may not allow that – North Korea, Japan, South Korea, South China Sea and the volatility in the China-US relations.

    However, India may be setting a precedent in regional security if it intervenes militarily in a dispute between two of its neighbours – on whatever pretext. In a longer term perspective, India-China relations have been severely damaged.

    The Modi government mishandled India’s relations with China. There have been a lot of missteps – such as hyping up public campaigns over contentious issues, prioritising inconsequential themes as centre piece of discourse, making Sino-Pakistan ties a litmus test of China’s intentions, trespassing on disputes in South China Sea, flaunting the ‘Dalai Lama’ card, and consorting with Obama administration’s ‘pivot to Asia’.

    A potential window of opportunity for the two strong leaderships in Delhi and Beijing to accelerate a border settlement has been slammed shut. And a relationship that was finely poised between competition and cooperation has turned adversarial.

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/ne...-security.html

  11. #56
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    An article by Kevin Maxwell

    ""With India and China interacting over more than 3,000km of undefined frontier, friction is constant and that one day it would break back into border war has seemed inevitable. Two great Indian delusions have created this situation.

    China, India border dispute bubbles over once more, but no one is quite sure why

    The lesser of these was the outright falsehood spun in the shock of immediate and utter Indian defeat in 1962’s Round One border war with China, when, after the hesitant launch of an Indian offensive to drive the Chinese out of India-claimed territory on the Chinese side of the McMahon Line, the pre-emptive Chinese counter-attack had in little more than a month crushed the Indian Army. It enabled the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to vacate all the territory it had occupied with nothing more than the minatory – and humiliating – warning to India, “don’t challenge us again”.

    The absurd myth of an “unprovoked Chinese aggression” which had taken India by surprise was promulgated to resurrect the broken image of “Pandit” Jawaharlal Nehru, the prime minister personally and pre-eminently responsible for the national disaster. Although long ago exposed and belied internationally, in India the myth has fermented in high military as well as political circles a longing for revenge.

    Neville Maxwell discloses document revealing that India provoked China into 1962 border war

    The underlying and greater delusion is that India’s geographical limits are set by millennial historical forces. The process of boundary formation established and required by the international community (negotiation to achieve agreement on border alignment and cooperation to demarcate the agreed alignment on the ground) thus becomes otiose for the Indian republic. India, having “discovered” the alignment of its borders through historical research, need only display them on its official maps and those would become defined international boundaries “not open to discussion with anybody”, as Nehru put it in a notorious order in 1954.

    Neville Maxwell interview: the full transcript

    He applied his own ruling literally and categorically, rejecting Beijing’s repeated calls for negotiation; and every one of his scores of successors in the Indian leadership has clung, or felt nailed to, that obdurate and provocative stance, in effect claiming the sole right unilaterally to define China’s as well as India’s borders. Every generation of literate Indians is inculcated with that false sense of national oppression by the cartographic image showing broad areas of Indian territory “occupied” by China, with reminders that Beijing’s maps reveal an intention to seize even more.

    The Dalai Lama has been the subject of many spats between China and India. Photo: Reuters


    The Sino-Indian interface along the undefined and contested frontier is consequently and constantly a source of international friction, waiting only for incidental sparks to set off martial conflagration.

    Border war was narrowly averted in 1987 when a belligerent Indian Army commander, General Krishnaswamy Sundarj, having been foiled in his plan to render Pakistan a “broken-back state”, turned his attention to the China border. He massively reinforced positions there and in deliberate provocation pushed numerous posts across the established McMahon line of actual control. China reacted with matching troop concentrations and air force inductions, and warned India to desist from its aggressions, which, in the late summer of 1987, it did, probably under US pressure.

    Former Indian prime minister Narasimha Rao negotiated the only border agreement between India and China. Photo: AP


    The heat went out of the confrontation but the Indian Army was left in a grossly unbalanced situation, with great troop concentrations beyond normal supply reach. That predicament induced a new Indian government, under Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, to negotiate in 1993 India’s one and only border agreement with the PRC: jointly to observe the line of actual control (LAC) and to reduce force levels to a practical minimum. Later, developments fell far short of what the treaty required.

    The current confrontation in the Sikkim sector might appear to have similar origins in military rather than political assertions, with India’s army chief, General Bipin Rawat, beating his chest with boasts that India can fight and win on “two and a half” fronts simultaneously.

    Border dispute an obstacle to building trust between China and India

    But the context points to deeper factors. India has recently been goading China in what can only have been a purposeful series of actions. Rather than let the LAC mature with the passing years, India has been needling Beijing by taking such doll figures as the Dalai Lama and loud-mouthed American diplomats into the disputed border region India proclaims to be its state of Arunachal Pradesh, and megaphoning the false claim that the McMahon alignment represents a legal boundary rather than a historical but contested claim. The McMahon Line in fact rests on a British diplomatic forgery, long exposed. This may be another indication that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided that India’s interest will be served better in an aggressive American alliance rather than in a neighbourly relationship with China.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained a strategy of aligning his nation with the US and Japan. Photo: Reuters


    The sudden convergence of Indian and Chinese troop concentrations around the current military confrontation in Doklam illustrates again the truth of Curzon’s observation in his Oxford lecture that borders can be “the razor’s edge on which hang suspended the modern issue of war or peace”. There is a spicy historical irony here because this confrontation is precisely sited in the single, tiny Sino-Indian border sector that was long ago treaty-defined and demarcated.

    What’s at stake for China as unsure Modi meets unpredictable Trump?

    In 1890, rational self-interest brought the mighty British Raj to sit down in conference, as if on equal terms, with the ruler of the Lilliputian Himalayan state of Sikkim, agree on the alignment of the state’s border and jointly mark that out on the ground. Time, weather and probably local human mischief will have obliterated the border markers but the careful verbal description in the Treaty prevails to prove that the local Indian commander, with or without higher orders, has blatantly moved forces into what is now Chinese territory. Beijing, sorely chafed already by India’s recent repeated provocations, appears to have decided that this is too much, and has itself adopted the absolutist Nehruvian position of “no discussion without withdrawal”.

    Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister. Photo: AFP


    The Indian attempt to depict this confrontation as tripartite should be disregarded. Bhutan is not an independent actor, is rather an Indian glove-puppet. A brigade group of the Indian Army, permanently stationed in Bhutan and now reinforced, is an ever-present reminder to Bhutan’s ruling group of what happened to Sikkim when its ruler aspired to independence – speedy annexation.

    Thus this still petty armed confrontation has a real and potentially enormous explosive potential – Round Two of Sino-Indian war. The way out, and ahead, lies where it always has been, in the opening of comprehensive, unconditional Sino-Indian boundary negotiation. What bars the way is the requirement of Indian policy reversal, which in the current bellicose mood and twisted popular sense of injury in India would require heroic bravery of leadership........"

    http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/geopol...-war-round-two

  12. #57
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Did you read my comment elsewhere about reliable sources?

  13. #58
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Funtastic View Post
    [B]Unsurprisingly, China alleges that by doing so, India has violated the 1890 convention. This is a can of worms, because if the 1890 convention is revisited, Sikkim’s settled border with Tibet may also get re-opened – and, alongside, India’s annexation of Sikkim in 1975 too (something which Beijing accepted grudgingly only in 2003 in the context of an improvement in the overall Sino-Indian ties at that time.)

    Beijing insists that any discussions to resolve the current standoff can take place only if India withdrew forces from the Chinese territory (Doklam). It contends that this standoff is fundamentally different because India has violated a key principle by violating an international border (between China and Sikkim under the 1890 agreement), which is not under dispute.
    MEA statement makes clear why India moved. China's actions threaten India. All the legal reasons put forth are moot. In any case they only apply to everybody else other than China isn't it. Well India can play that game too.

    What is China's intent with building that road. None of India's business will be the reply. Heh, think again.

    There is more going on here than meets the eye. One article i was reading questioned whether this was even about the border or trying to show that India makes a poor partner to challenge China. This idea uses timing for justification, just so happens Modi was in Washington. Convenient.

    But it clearly is a battle of perceptions, China will make everybody submit, including India. India is subordinate to China or will be.

    South of the border they disagree : D

    Neville Maxwell discloses document revealing that India provoked China into 1962 border war
    Govt won' talk about it.

    https://youtu.be/M9t8BPnChpY

    Hilariious to listen to both opposition and ruling party switch roles. Before election opposition wants the report made public, ruling says no. opposition wins and is now ruling, so present opposition aka previous govt says make it public
    Last edited by Double Edge; 17 Jul 17, at 23:00.

  14. #59
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Did you read my comment elsewhere about reliable sources?
    Let's say Bhadra has an active imagination and this means unique takes. Paints pictures. He tries to see two steps ahead. Topics we discuss here just the next step or how did we get here is already hard enough to figure out : D

    I've followed him earlier for a few months but couldn't use much he said with discussions here.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 18 Jul 17, at 12:12.

  15. #60
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    Indian military standoff with China was all about Bhutan
    China did not intrude on India; tensions seem part of the 'great game' over Bhutan amid deep Indian disquiet about Beijing's dealings with Thimphu


    consensus’ was reached at a meeting in New Delhi over the weekend between the government and leaders of India’s opposition parties that the five-week long military standoff with China in the Sikkim region should be resolved peacefully.

    The headlines have begun moving away from the topic as if an unseen hand is guiding. The standoff could be inching its way toward denouement.

    De-escalation’ is the new mantra. The good part is that the clamor for war with China by hotheads in India does not reflect the official thinking (anymore).

    China probably widening road in Doklam

    Meanwhile, there is much greater clarity about what really happened on the ground.

    First, contrary to what India media claimed, there has been no Chinese ‘intrusion’ on to India’s sacred soil. On the contrary, Indian military moved into Doklam on the China-Bhutan border, which has been under Chinese control all along.


    Second, reports projected that a standoff ensued as China started building a road in Doklam. But there is evidence now that a road was already in existence for over a decade at least and China was probably widening it.

    Third, India claimed that its intervention was at the request of Bhutan. China disputed the claim. Significantly, after a visit to Thimphu by the spouse of the Chinese ambassador in Delhi and her meeting with the Bhutanese king last week, Beijing maintains that Bhutan did not seek Indian military intervention.

    Fourth, and most importantly, China maintains that it is within its sovereign right to build roads in an area under its control. Whereas, Indian reports sensed a ‘mission creep’ with a hidden Chinese agenda to eventually threaten the Siliguri corridor, a hundred kilometers to the south, which connects India’s restive northeast with the hinterland.

    imalayan kingdom of Bhutan is the site of a military standoff between its giant neighbors, India and China. Photo: iStock
    A ‘consensus’ was reached at a meeting in New Delhi over the weekend between the government and leaders of India’s opposition parties that the five-week long military standoff with China in the Sikkim region should be resolved peacefully.

    The headlines have begun moving away from the topic as if an unseen hand is guiding. The standoff could be inching its way toward denouement.

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    ‘De-escalation’ is the new mantra. The good part is that the clamor for war with China by hotheads in India does not reflect the official thinking (anymore).


    China probably widening road in Doklam

    Meanwhile, there is much greater clarity about what really happened on the ground.

    First, contrary to what India media claimed, there has been no Chinese ‘intrusion’ on to India’s sacred soil. On the contrary, Indian military moved into Doklam on the China-Bhutan border, which has been under Chinese control all along.

    Second, reports projected that a standoff ensued as China started building a road in Doklam. But there is evidence now that a road was already in existence for over a decade at least and China was probably widening it.

    Third, India claimed that its intervention was at the request of Bhutan. China disputed the claim. Significantly, after a visit to Thimphu by the spouse of the Chinese ambassador in Delhi and her meeting with the Bhutanese king last week, Beijing maintains that Bhutan did not seek Indian military intervention.

    Fourth, and most importantly, China maintains that it is within its sovereign right to build roads in an area under its control. Whereas, Indian reports sensed a ‘mission creep’ with a hidden Chinese agenda to eventually threaten the Siliguri corridor, a hundred kilometers to the south, which connects India’s restive northeast with the hinterland.

    Thimphu, Bhutan map Illustration: iStock.
    However, this ‘threat perception’ appears to be based on an exaggerated notion since the Chumbi Valley in Tibet which leads toward the Indian border itself is a narrow corridor flanked by steep mountains, which India dominates. A former Indian corps commander Lt Gen KJ Singh put it this way:

    ‘‘Treacherous mountainous jungle terrain and (a) total absence of connectivity limits application of force levels and will reduce it to a slogging crawl. (Any) such offensives need logistic sustenance, (as the) narrow Chumbi valley, dominated on both flanks, with limited deployment spaces and acclimatization challenges is a virtual death trap. While granting credit to (the) Chinese for favorable force ratios, its actual efficacy has to be discounted as force multipliers have severe limitation in application due to weather and terrain.’’

    All things taken into account, therefore, the current standoff is not so much about territory as the ‘great game’ over Bhutan.

    India has been treating Bhutan as its ‘protectorate’ ever since Great Britain left the subcontinent in 1947. But lately, through the past decade or so, China started nibbling away at Indian influence by working on fault lines that had begun appearing in India-Bhutan relations over time.

    India harbors a deep sense of disquiet about China’s direct dealings with Bhutan, especially on border disputes. By the military intervention in Doklam, India has inserted itself as the proverbial elephant in the room. This is one thing.

    ‘High-stakes’ election in Bhutan next year

    Interestingly, the current standoff is playing out in the run-up to a crucial parliamentary election in Bhutan, which is due in mid-2018.

    The forthcoming election will be a high stakes affair for New Delhi, which is keen that the present ‘pro-India’ Bhutanese prime minister Tshering Tobgay secures a renewed mandate. (He deposed his ‘pro-China’ predecessor Jigme Thinley in the 2013 election with some Indian manipulation from the back stage.)

    To be sure, a calibrated brinkmanship seems to characterize the current standoff – in both Indian and Chinese behavior. Bhutan says nothing much.

    Bhutan must be aware of the great game by its two giant neighbors over its strategic autonomy. Sadly, it is caught up in a debt trap. According to the International Monetary Fund, Bhutan’s government debt now stands at 118% of GDP, with India by far the largest creditor, accounting for 64% of Bhutan’s total debt. Of course, much of India’s ‘aid’ effectively promoted project exports to Bhutan by Indian companies.

    As a former Indian ambassador and top expert on Himalayan affairs, P Stobdan wrote last week, India’s “colonial-style approach of buying loyalty through economic aid” may not work anymore. Do not be surprised if Bhutan views China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ as the salvation – following Nepal’s footfalls.

    If so, it must be the mother of all ironies because India is waging a relentless whispering campaign against the Belt and Road, warning that it leads to ‘debt trap’.

    Bhutanese nationalism and resentment of Indian ‘hegemony’, is, no doubt, a strong undercurrent, and Delhi cannot ignore it much longer.

    Intervention in neighboring countries to browbeat them is a grotesque foreign-policy legacy left behind by decades of successive Congress Party governments in India. It is an archaic mindset.

    On Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought in refreshingly new thinking to India’s policy and a tumultuous relationship (which tragically took the life of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi) steadied almost overnight.

    A similar imaginative approach is needed vis--vis Bhutan.

    By M.K. BHADRAKUMAR JULY 17, 2017 5:17 PM (UTC+8)

    http://www.atimes.com/article/indian...-china-bhutan/

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