Amid the standoff at Doklam plateau in Sikkim sector between Indian and Chinese troops, India on Friday told Bhutan to not get intimidated by Beijing’s angry rhetoric, even as Bhutan urged New Delhi to amicably resolve the border stand-off with China. The sources at a meeting of BIMSTEC nations told The Indian Express that these were the broad contours of the discussion between Indian and Bhutanese leaders and officials. Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal are members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also met her Bhutanese counterpart Damcho Dorji. This was the minister-level meeting between Bhutan and India ever since the genesis of the Doklam border stand-off in June. The sources also added that both India and Bhutan discussed the Doklam issue and exchanged notes on the “way forward”. Dorji said after the meeting: “We hope the situation in Doklam will be resolved peacefully and amicably.” He stayed away from giving specific details. Also Read: Don’t be intimidated by China: India to Bhutan
India behaving like mature power in Doklam standoff, says US expert
A top American defence expert has opined that India is “behaving like a mature power” in the Doklam standoff and making China look like an adolescent throwing a tamper tantrum. Professor of strategy at US Naval War College James R Holmes said: “New Delhi has done things right thus far, neither backing away from the dispute nor replying in kind to Beijing’s over-the-top rhetoric. It is behaving as the mature power and making China look like the adolescent throwing a temper tantrum.”
Army raises alert level in Arunachal Pradesh as Chinese officials meet US counterparts
As China continues to engage in belligerent rhetoric over the Doklam standoff, the Indian Army has cautiously put its units in Arunachal Pradesh on a higher alert, putting some troops in the state ahead of their usual locations but still short of the Chinese border.
Sources revealed to the The Indian Express that, as a precautionary measure, many units of the Dimpaur-headquartered 3 Corps and Tezpur-headquartered 4 Corps have been placed on “higher alert in a No War No Peace mode”.
The sources also emphasised that these measures are not related to to any major build-up of China’s military in Tibet. The Indian side has not observed any major movement of China’s military so far. The Indian Express had reported earlier that in the eastern sector, Army units in Sikkim have already been staged forward as they undertake their Operational Alert this month which has been advanced from October. Also Read: Cautiously, Army raises alert level in Arunachal Pradesh as Chinese officials meet US counterparts
China, India must work to resolve Doklam standoff, says US commander
A top American commander said today that the ongoing Doklam standoff between Indian and Chinese troops is a matter of concern, even as he asked both countries to work together and resolve the issue diplomatically. India and China have been locked in a face-off in the Doklam area for more than 50 days after Indian troops stopped the Chinese People’s Liberation Army from building a road in the area.
Commander of the US Pacific Command Admiral Harry B Harris echoed the State Department’s view that the US encourages the two countries to resolve their differences diplomatically. In a statement to PTI, Admiral Harris said “Well, I think that any time you have two great powers at odds across a common border, that’s an area of concern. Of course, it’s potentially dangerous.”
“But I think that I would echo those sentiments of our own government leaders, America’s national leadership, that we encourage both India and China to engage in diplomacy, to help reduce these tensions,” Admiral Harris added.
Chinese Navy eyes Indian Ocean as part of PLA’s plan to extend its reach amid Doklam standoff
Amid the ongoing Doklam standoff, Chinese Navy has reached out to India to maintain security China in Indian Ocean amid increasing concerns in New Delhi over the growing presence of the PLA fleet in India’s backyard. In a first, People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) threw open its strategic South Sea Fleet (SSF) base in the coastal city of Zhanjiang to a group of Indian journalists. “It is my opinion China and India can make joint contributions to the safety and security of the Indian Ocean,” Capt Liang Tianjun, Deputy Chief of General Office of China’s SSF said. His remarks came as China’s Navy embarked on a massive expansion to extend its global reach. Also Read: Chinese Navy eyes Indian Ocean as part of PLA’s plan to extend its reach
Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a stand-off in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector for seven weeks now after Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the disputed area. China claimed that they were constructing the road within their territory and has been demanding immediate pull-out of the Indian troops from the disputed Doklam plateau. New Delhi has expressed concern over the road building, apprehending that it may allow Chinese troops to cut India’s access to its northeastern states.
India has conveyed to the Chinese government that the road construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for it. Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Doklam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.
Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim. China also claims that Thimphu has no dispute with Beijing over Doklam.
(With PTI inputs)