The present face-off between India and China over the Bhutan-China border issue, as feared by many, may not lead to the war, but may repeat 1967 Nathu La like skirmish where China had received a heavy blow. Border incursions by China since 1962 have been too frequent. China diplomatically desires that Bhutan should be in its fold so that the India is surrounded by all sides with establishing strong political relations with the encircling countries to India. China presently is on the spree of “Road Diplomacy” to ultimately achieve its expansionist goals. The present face-off is related with the road construction project of China through Bhutan’s disputed territory.
The dispute is between Bhutan and China over Doklam plateau. China claims it to be Chinese territory while Bhutan and India reject the claim. All the issues those led to the war or face-offs have been related to the border dispute. China has achieved the heights in the art of creating border issues and claiming the territories though they never belonged to it. In the present flare up, China has blamed Indian troops of trespassing while blocking Indian pilgrims to Mansarovar through Nathu La till the issue resolves.
India, being security guarantor to Bhutan, cannot afford any stand down. China, too, a nation flared up with ambitious plans to not only maintain its diplomatic supremacy over Asia but to use the markets to its benefit will not step back from its stand. The verbal warfare is now turning to the war-like situation as India have sent the additional force to the border and Chinese submarines and naval ships are out in the Indian ocean.
Doklam is a strategic place situated at crucial border trijunction hence any Chinese maneuver in this territory affects Indian borders as well. The road that China is building, though frequently referred as “Economic Corridor”, in fact also is “Military corridor” which can be of great assistance to China in controlling the regions through which it traverses. The commercial objectives are mostly superficial and India is well aware of this fact. Also, India cannot afford to alienate Bhutan. Since the Doklam is a tri-juncture boundary, it needs the trilateral consultation to resolve it.
The tension is escalated since India and China have deployed additional 3000 troops each. The stand-off is a month long, longest after 1962 Indo-China war. Two Indian bunkers have been destroyed by PLA. We do not know as yet how Indian Army retaliate to the incursion though the sources say that the army is on non-combative mode. However, we are not sure when nozzles of the guns will be raised and mountain echo with the firing.
Beyond politics, we should stand strongly behind our army and government to resolve this issue as soon as possible and stop the Chinese incursions and its habit to flex muscles over and again. The Chinese Peoples Liberation Army can be defeated as we have defeated it in 1967 at Nathu La. If India cannot afford any long term war, China too is not in any better position.