The stand-off in the Doklam plateau between Indian and Chinese troops has got international commentators worried about the peace and stability in the region. While India has repeatedly hoped for a mutually-acceptable solution through diplomatic talks, China wants Indian troops to withdraw from the disputed territory for any kind of dialogue to proceed. The row began when Indian troops objected to Chinese constructing a motorable road in the Doklam region, an area that India considers Bhutanese territory. The region, that’s close to Sikkim in the northeast, is considered to be strategically significant for India.
You Dongxiao, an associate professor with the International College of Defense at the National Defense University of the People’s Liberation Army, has written a column in Xinhua explaining why he thinks the Chinese are not likely to back down from the stand-off. He states three reasons for the same.
First, he believes Doklam falls under China and that this is the first intrusion into the Chinese side of the boundary. He cites the 1890 Convention between Great Britain and China relating to Sikkim and Tibet to justify that the region has been ‘clearly delineated’ according to the agreement. “If China backs down now, India may be emboldened to make more trouble in the future,” Dongxiao writes in Xinhua.
Second, that India has not given any ‘legal basis’ for its troops entering the territory and halting Chinese road construction, he argues. Now, India has said that Chinese actions in the region are a deviation from the status quo with potential security implications for it and Bhutan. Dongxiao questioned when and why Bhutan asked India to step into Doklam to protect its interests.
“India’s own security concerns cannot possibly warrant a military occupation of a neighboring country. If they did, then any country could send its military forces unbidden into any neighboring country over purely internal security concerns,” Dongxiao wrote.
Third, the writer says it will be ‘ridiculous to conclude’ that China will allow any compromise of its territorial integrity. “China will never back down in the face of foreign military pressure and will defend its native soil at all costs,” he wrote. At the same time, he writes that China would not wish to enter into a war with India as peace is essential for its economic growth and reform agenda.