Doklam standoff: Explaining two months of tensions between India and China

Sikkim standoff: Softening her previous stand, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said the border stand-off with China cannot be resolved through a war but can be settled through bilateral talks.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 5, 2017 4:16 pm
doklam, china, India, Sikkim, India China doklam, what is doklam, doklam standoff, doklam crisis, doklam controversy, india china, india china relations, sikkim, sushma swaraj Doklam standoff: The Sikkim section has a special historical background and this is the only defined boundary between China and India, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang

The Doklam standoff began in mid-June when India accused China of constructing a road in the disputed territory towards Doklam plateau, an objection that the Royal Bhutanese Army also raised. Doklam is a tri-junction between India, Bhutan and China. India intervened in the crisis, supporting Bhutan’s stand and asking China to halt its construction work. China claimed Doklam as its territory and soon there was a standoff between the Indian and Chinese troops, with both of them sending reinforcements at the border area. In the wake of the stand-off, the pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar was cancelled. Located at an altitude of 15, 160 feet, the yatra is considered holy to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. It takes place between June and September.

Doklam standoff: Terse verses

On June 30, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spokesperson Col Wu Qian warned Army chief General Bipin Rawat to “stop clamouring for war”, dismissing the latter’s remarks that India was ready for a “two-and-a-half front war” as “extremely irresponsible”. PLA spokesperson Col Wu Qian told reporters: “We hope that the particular person in the Indian Army could learn from historical lessons and stop such clamouring for war.” In response to this, Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley hit back at Beijing and asserted that the India of 2017 is different from what it used to be 55 years ago. “If they are trying to remind us, the situation in 1962 was different and India of 2017 is different,” Jaitley said.

Asking India to withdraw, China said the “trespassing” of Indian troops in Doklam was a “betrayal” of a treaty signed in 1890, and India had used Bhutan as an “excuse” to violate the international border between the two countries. A day before the G20 summit was supposed to begin in Hamburg, Germany, China dismissed the prospect of a meeting between Chinese president Xi Jinping and PM Narendra Modi, saying the “atmosphere is not right for a bilateral meeting”. China once again demanded the withdrawal of Indian troops, citing it as a “pre-condition” for any talks to take place between the two countries.

With the stand-off continuing for over a month, Minister for External affairs Sushma Swaraj said in Parliament that India has the support of “all countries”. Swaraj also demanded both countries to withdraw their troops in order to have a conversation on the issue. In response to Swaraj’s comment, Chinese media mouthpiece Global Times said she had “lied” in the Parliament. It also warned of China resolving the “conflict through non-diplomatic means”, highlighting the military strength of the Chinese forces. “The China-India border area may become a stage where China showcases the achievement of its long-term military development and reforms,” it said.

Doklam standoff: NSAs meet

On the sidelines of the BRICS summit, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi and held talks which Beijing said included “major problems” and “regional issues”. The two sides have remained tight-lipped about what was discussed in the meeting. After meeting National Security Advisors (NSAs) of BRICS countries, Chinese President Xi Jinping praised their efforts in enhancing mutual trust and cooperation. Doval said “vital” issues discussed at the meeting of the NSAs and its outcome will have an “impact” on the main summit in September.

At an event marking the 90th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China has the “confidence to defeat all invasions”. “No one should expect us to swallow the bitter fruit that is harmful to our sovereignty, security or development interests,” he added. Though his comments did not point to anyone in particular, their timing seemed to them being directed at India.

Last week, reports emerged of Chinese soldiers making a brief transgression into Indian territory at the Barahoti area in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand on July 25. According to sources, this was the second such incident in the region this month — the first was on July 15. Sources said 15-20 soldiers came in at each time.

Doklam standoff: Perceived softening of stand

Softening her previous stand, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said the border stand-off with China cannot be resolved through a war but can be settled through bilateral talks.  “We will keep patience to resolve the issue,” she said, adding that India will engage with China to resolve the dispute. Acknowledging china’s contribution to India’s economic growth, she said, “China has contributed to our growing economic strength. For them, there’s a lot at stake, risk here. They have been awarded many contracts.”

A day after Swaraj’s comments, Chinese Consul General in Kolkata, Ma Zhanwu, said that “shared interests’’ between the two countries “far outweigh any differences’’ and India and China need to resolve the issue through “rational, objective and constructive means.”

“In relationships between nations, there are always differences. It is like belonging to a family with many brothers and sisters. There can be differences between siblings and even parents. If there are such differences between two brothers, that does not mean that they cannot get along. You don’t stop dealing with that brother, with whom you have differences, on other issues,’’ Ma said.

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  1. T
    TRU HART
    Aug 8, 2017 at 5:34 pm
    CHINESE COMMINUST PARTY MEMBERS AND LEADER, THEY BE BULLY, AS ARROGANT, AS AGGRESSSIVE PEOPLE. BCOZ WHOLE WORLD IS CONFIRMING THAT WHOLE CHINA AND ALL CHINESE PEOPLES ARE ALSO BULLY, AGGRESSSIVE AND ARROGANTT PEOPLES. BUT THIS IS NOT TRUE, AS ORDINARY CHINESE PEOPLE ARE LIKE REST OF WORLD NORMAL HUMAN BEINGS. SO THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY AND ITS LEADER, THEY MUST BE DECENT, POLITE, USE WORLDWIDE RULES AND REGULATIONS, AND ALSO ONE DAY SOON, THEY MUST ALLOW THE DEMOCRACY TO FLOWER IN THEIR ANCIENT NATION. THIS ACT OF ALLOWING ALL CHINESE PEOPLE TO FAIRLY ELECT THEIR OWN PRESIDENT AND PARTY MEMBERS TO RULE THE NATION, MUCH LIKE REST OF THE WORLD IS DOING...THIS ACT WILL PUT THE CURRENT COMMUNIST PARTY MEMBERS AND LEADER, INTO EVERLASTING HISTORY BOOKS AND MEMORIES OF PEOPLE WORLDWIDE, AS THE VERY COURAGEOUS AND BIG-HEART PEOPLE WHO CREATED THE VERY CONCEPT OF ELECTIONS AND DEMOCRACY IN THE LARGEST NATION ON OUR BELOVED PLANET....WHAT A FEAT THAT WOULD TRULY BE...NOBODY DID BEFORE EVER.
    Reply
    1. C
      cc
      Aug 6, 2017 at 7:21 am
      india iq 80
      Reply
      1. S
        shishir
        Aug 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm
        yes it is also the pen ile size of india, and China has both "3" .
        Reply
      2. S
        Sanju
        Aug 5, 2017 at 9:22 pm
        Indian express...why are you allowing anti-Indian pakistanis to post on this newspaper????? Are you Indians or Pa kis ta nis
        Reply
        1. Y
          Yulin Sun
          Aug 5, 2017 at 11:14 pm
          If you want to get truth, you need to listen to each part's opinion. Why you are afraid of that? Is the truth hurt?
          Reply
          1. A
            Apllo
            Aug 6, 2017 at 4:23 am
            indian usually proud of the democracy. all people have right of talking about it . Forbidden our right just Hitler 's doing .
            Reply
          2. S
            Sanju
            Aug 5, 2017 at 9:19 pm
            1. India has entered into the territory of Bhutan under an agreement just like you are occupying part of PoK. You are even building up infrastructure in our territory occupied by Pakistan inspite of several protests. 2. China is exceptionally the hurdle in every global association of rising India using exclusive powers and all weather beggar Pakistan. Your double standards in judging terror based cases selectively or NSG entry are known to all. 3. Your encroachment of our territory in 1962 the recent language from media defense of humiliating India is really humiliating,upsetting frustrating.
            Reply
            1. Y
              Yulin Sun
              Aug 5, 2017 at 11:18 pm
              China army never enter PoK's territory. Instead, it is Chinese engineer who did that with PoK's invitation. So far, there is no any clue that Indian army has got Bhutan's request to enter Donglang. Very likely it is lie from Indian government. As below news from NY time. Indian friends, can you deny that the Indian government is liar at this point? "At a news conference on Friday, a spokesman for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs was asked repeatedly whether Bhutan had requested India’s military intervention, a question that India has not answered directly. The spokesman, Gopal Baglay, responded by invoking the lyrics of a Hindi song: “If you understand hints, let secrets be secrets.”" From nytimes. com /2017/08/04/world/asia/china-india-border-tensions '
              Reply
              1. C
                Curious onlooker
                Aug 6, 2017 at 8:32 am
                Bhutan and Sikkim fall within India's geopolitical influence and China insists on breaking into that sphere in her drive to establish her hegemony over India with military might. India has got to stop her encroachment with force pitted against force if it comes to that. Even Manipuri is open to the risk of Chinese attack. Atlast, Sushma Swaraj speaks like the External Affairs Minister of India.
                Reply
              2. J
                Jinita
                Aug 5, 2017 at 8:08 pm
                Modi make a big mistake. To focus on Development, people get rich, get better life. To build a strong India, That is a best Defend. To order India troops cross international border, Defend In China land. In The world, No other country'troops Do it like this. I never heard before.
                Reply
                1. Y
                  Yulin Sun
                  Aug 5, 2017 at 11:21 pm
                  Focus on development? Did Modi do more than former Indian government? From my point of view, the faster GDP growth from Modi government is because he change the GDP calculation. Is there any clue that Modi government got faster GDP growth with comparison of former government. It is looks Modi is just like actor who is good at talk.
                  Reply
                2. A
                  Ashok Kumar H
                  Aug 5, 2017 at 7:53 pm
                  India will get full military support from US , Russia , Japan , France , UK , Israel , UAE , Bangladesh , Tibet and Bhutan . China should not underestimate India's own military strength. In 1962 Indian Airforce was not called in. Otherwise India would have easily won the war. China and India are both ancient civilisations with thousands of years of friendship. The Communist Party of China shall not act in a irresponsible manner. China is trying to harass Bhutan , same way as it did for Tibet and Taiwan. Currently the trade between India and China is in very huge . If Indians stop using the Chinese goods , Chinese economy will collapse.
                  Reply
                  1. D
                    DDT
                    Aug 5, 2017 at 8:05 pm
                    Airforce on vacation in 1962? Chinese economy collapse? I laugh my off....
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      shishir
                      Aug 7, 2017 at 1:37 pm
                      it wont be funny once it happens, perhaps you wont be having any a ss left to laugh off.
                      1. V
                        vineet kumar
                        Aug 10, 2017 at 4:42 pm
                        if war will be broken out between India China, certainly China will certainly suffer a heavy loss.
                      2. Y
                        Yulin Sun
                        Aug 5, 2017 at 11:27 pm
                        India has ancient civilizations ? It is fake for so many years. India as a place did have ancient civilizations. But is the civilizations have any relationship with current Indian people? Can current Indian people read the ancient civilizations' book? From my point of view, the current Indian people is just take the name of the old Indian ancient civilization by "Name" only. And even the place of old Indian ancient civilization is in Pok instead of in current Indian territory. Please stop stealing the old ancient civilizations .
                        Reply
                        1. C
                          Curious onlooker
                          Aug 6, 2017 at 8:43 am
                          Don't the present day Chinese consider themselves as the center of the world just like their middle kingdom emperors did? In one thing you are right. The present day Indians are a far cry from their vaunted ancient myth of civilized culture.
                          1. S
                            shishir
                            Aug 7, 2017 at 1:41 pm
                            yes i can ... i can read sanskrit the most ancient language thousands of years old, and is being taught in schools, not only in India abroad also . you are so immature and ignorant leave alone arrogant. You have "0"knowledge about India ,so my suggestion is talk about your own country, than making a fool out of yourself and your country.
                        2. Y
                          Yavanshatru Singh
                          Aug 5, 2017 at 5:59 pm
                          Now Modi is power not Nehru. He is capable of winning the word to which China is a part. God has given him supernatural powers. Whatever he does only success awaits him. Modi should finish first the half factor of two and a half enemy for which he had always been active throughout his political carrier.
                          Reply
                          1. K
                            Kushal Kumar
                            Aug 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm
                            This Vedic astrology writer's alerts for more care and appropriate strategy for India during year 2017 in article " 2017 - an opportune year for India with major worrisome concerns in February-March and August-September" were issued widely to Indian news media last year in October - November 2016. While covering August -September or near about in year 2017 for India , the alert prediction reads like this : " AUGUST-SEPTEMBER OR NEAR ABOUT LOOKS TO BE PRESENTING WAR OR BIG TERROR , COULD ALSO BE THROUGH SEA". The place of India was indicated to be northern part like Leh Ladakh, which has come out to be somewhat indicative. This was with specific context of India only. Similar major worrisome concerns in the global context were expressed in this writer's article of 16 May 2017 - " Is World War III round the corner ?" - published in the Summer (June) 2017 issue of The Astrologer's Notebook , a quarterly print Newsletter from North Port , Florida.
                            Reply
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