The month-long India-China border standoff in the Sikkim sector is seen as part of same Chinese coercive tactics to change the status quo. India has taken a strong stand against such a Chinese move. It appears China has miscalculated how serious leadership is towards national interest or testing the waters for getting “Arunachal issue active again”.
In both the cases China would have understood that it’s not same 1962 India which can be crushed and walked over.
Chinese Media: Before you get a glance of Chinese media writings it’s important to know that most of the Chinese media is “State run” and those who cry about freedom of press in India should look at Chinese media once.
One of the popular state run media daily Global times has published more than 20 articles: warning India of a repeat of the 1962 war, that China will reverse its agreed position on Sikkim, start an international campaign questioning the close India-Bhutan ties, stir up trouble in the northeast and send People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops into Kashmir at Pakistan’s ostensible behest. An image of a People’s Daily edition of 1962 was also in circulation on the popular Chinese sites Weibo and WeChat on July 12, 2017. The articles and statements by official spokesmen would have been approved at a high level in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and reveal the thinking of the senior echelons of the CCP about India.
China’s state-owned media is tightly controlled by the CCP’s powerful propaganda department which often issues thrice daily ‘advisories’ on how and what to print and prominence to be given to any particular subject. Articles relating to neighbouring countries are especially scrutinized.
Message to Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh: The stand which India has taken in the Doklam is a direct message to all the neighbouring countries especially to Sri Lanka & Bangladesh who are yet to completely understand imperialistic approach of China. But in recent past Sri Lanka has understood bits and example was denial of “Submarine Dock” at Colombo port and that also gave an opportunity to Indian Navy & US navy to study it.
The fundamental flaw we had in our foreign policy was that we were viewing relationship with our neighbours with the prism of bilateral relationship while it was always “Trilateral”. Nothing exemplifies this more than the plethora of commentary produced in the Indian press, most of which practically ignores Bhutan. It must be recognized that China’s aggression is not directed towards New Delhi but towards Thimphu. Nothing exemplifies this more than the plethora of commentary produced in the Indian press, most of which practically ignores Bhutan. It must be recognized that China’s aggression is not directed towards New Delhi but towards Thimphu.
It is remarkable that China has broken from its decades-long “charm offensive” diplomatic policy to threaten a much weaker country (Bhutan) over an issue that is of minor significance from its perspective. By challenging Bhutanese security, Beijing hopes to put a strain on the India-Bhutan “special relationship”. Should Bhutan perceive any sign of hesitation in India’s commitment to the alliance between the two countries, it would likely leave a lasting scar on the relationship—to China’s gain.
To meet this challenge, India has taken a hard-line position against China in public, even at the risk of escalation. This is not to say that New Delhi should engage in a “game of chicken” for the sake of just appearing aggressive. Rather, it should recognize that the ultimate goal of this standoff is not to settle the immediate future of the Doklam plateau but to reassure Bhutan of the credibility of India’s commitment.
And this commitment towards Thimpu will send a strong message to Colombo, Dhaka, Naypyidaw, Katmandu and even to Islamabad that India is way credible than China and we are not Imperialistic in our approach.
Chicken Neck: India is connected to her North Eastern territory by a Small narrow corridor called Siliguri Corridor. It is only between 27 to 60 KM wide and 200 KM in length. If we look at the map, Chumbi Vally is extension of Chinese territory between India and Bhutan. China can cut off India from north east territories easily if it advances 80KM through corridor which will affect 50M people living in north east. Being extremely sensitive area for India It is heavily guarded by Indian Army, the Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force and Bengal Police. India is planning to build another corridor through Bangladesh to shorten distance and provide alternative route to send supplies in case of aggression. Also India has military presence in Bhutan which allows two side attacks in case of Chinese aggression from Sikkim and Bhutan. Bhutan has affinity towards India and doesn’t have any diplomatic ties with China owing to Tibet row.
India has redoubled its efforts to strengthen its deployments in the eastern sector, with the raising of a new mountain strike corps and stationing of front-line Sukhoi-30 fighter planes. The armed force is also engaged in the reactivation of advanced landing grounds, deploying supersonic cruise missiles and proposed basing of special operations aircraft. This has vexed China and left them frustrated as “Deterrence” factor to twist the chicken neck is no longer on the cards.
Doklam plateau: China wants to have strong Influence over India hence has constructed roads which pass through disputed Doklam plateau. Earlier China destroyed two Indian bunkers with bulldozers claiming that neither India nor China has claims over the Doklam plateau (2012). But now Indian Army has taken a firm stand and they are pumping in the troops. Which has made it very awkward for Chinese, As they can’t step down considering public pressure not can leap forward facing mighty Indian Army.
Why China and India have frequent border disputes in past?
- China is known to have disputes with various countries bordering it including Japan, Vietnam, Bhutan and south Korea (not bordering)
- China claims territories according to their historical data which is not accepted by many countries.
- India’s bid for NSG and Dalai lama’s presence in Arunachal Pradesh has caused a great concern to China.
- India’s non-acceptance to The OBOR and Maritime Silk Road affects China’s plans to greater extent. India is the only country in southern Asia which significantly impacts Chinese ambitions.
- China is affected when India has good relations with its neighbors as it affects its big economic plans.
China wants to Isolate India by forging friendship with its neighbours including Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives etc. the one country which stands strong in its way is Bhutan. Bhutan does not tolerate China and does not even have Chinese embassy. Bhutan has friendly relations with India which enables India to have military presence in Bhutan. This is problem for China. India’s neighbours Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan depend on India for supplies. Nepal and Bhutan are completely dependent on India since other side is barren Tibetan region. China wants to build road so it could use this markets and supply with essentials to remove India’s Influence. This might work with Nepal but won’t work with Bhutan. China hence wants to clearly pursue military interest’s in Bhutan, i.e. get closer to Siliguri corridor so it can break it in case of war.
To show some action to its citizens
Chinese people have very high trust on their one-party government, To prevent internal threats its necessary to show external threat to its people. This is precisely what China does. (South Korea missile detection system was heavily criticized in China which was in fact just a defense mechanism developed against north korea .)
To sum up
- China wants to build pressure on India to participate in OBOR
- China wants India to be isolated from her allies.
- China can place itself strategically to cut one sixth of India’s territory.
- It wants to give a feeling of external threat and increase support from Chinese citizens for one party.
Would there be a war?
No, it’s just both countries are building up inventories and strategic advantages to one up each other. Especially China. All China can do is add few more articles in Global times and as winter hits everything will go back to “Status Quo”. After a month full of hollow threats, Posturing and Muscle Flexing, China has understood that India is not the same old India of 1962. And that shows from Xi Jinping’s praise of “every” BRICS NSA.