The month-long India-China border standoff in the Sikkim sector was seen as part of same Chinese coercive tactics to change the status quo. India took a strong stand against such a Chinese move. Soon It appeared China had miscalculated how serious Modi Government was towards national interest or testing the waters for getting “Arunachal issue active again”.
The standoff in the Doklam Plateau on the China-Bhutan border went on for more than 10 weeks without a bullet being fired. The Chinese public relations and propaganda machinery tried its best to intimidate India and present it as an aggressor in the region. Last month the Chinese briefed the diplomats of foreign countries stationed in Beijing about the Doklam crisis. They presented rhetoric that the Indian troops are occupying its territory and violating international laws. However, China failed in its efforts to isolate India. In fact, it fell in its own trap.
To counter China, America began to expedite its military relationship with India. The US accelerated the sale of high technology military equipment to India. ASEAN nations such as Vietnam and Philippines, who have major dispute with China began to line up on to Indian side as well. Amid the rising tensions with Chinese, India also invited the newly-elected Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga for state visit. During his election campaign, Battulga had advocated greater economic independence from Beijing and criticized its policy towards the region. Japan was firmly on India’s side too and even conducted Naval Drills with India.
Back in China, Military Strategists and think tanks warned China against going to war against India. They even prophesied about a possible Chinese loss owing to India’s strategic naval advantage. They said that China is playing psychological warfare but it should realise that even if it defeats India in a war on land, it would be impossible for the PLA navy to break India’s maritime containment,” They pointed to the importance of the Indian Ocean as a commercial lifeline. The Chinese import over 80% of its fuel consumption that travels through the Strait of Malacca and the Indian Ocean. The location of India is such that it lies in the heart of China’s energy lifeline and in case of a military conflict, there’s every chance that India will look to block China’s energy lifeline by using its location in a bid to cripple China.
Chinese tried their tried and tested game of excursions when Chinese forces tried entering Ladakh twice on 15th of August. But they were beaten squarely and forced to retreat. Indian Soldiers wrestled them out of Indian Territory on both occasions. Perturbed by the beating Chinese soldiers resorted to stone pelting which was replied in the same coin. Many Chinese Soldiers were reported to be injured after Indian soldiers unleased a volley of rock on them.
Back home in India, The Modi Government had to face Opposition’s hostilities, however, Sushma Swaraj the ever efficient and articulate Minister of External Affairs, brought the Opposition in general and the Congress in particular on its knees with reference to the Doklam issue questioning the Congress as to why its Vice President Rahul Gandhi preferred to understand the Chinese viewpoint by meeting the Chinese diplomats instead of requesting the Government to clear the air and then confront the Chinese. Opposition had raised questions against the Government’s ability to manage relations with India’s neighbours in light of the Dokhlam standoff and continued hostilities with Pakistan. To this, the Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj gave an elaborate reply explaining how India has been acting as a responsible neighbor and strengthening relationships with its neighbour citing the prompt help extended by India when a massive earthquake struck the Himalayan nation of Nepal and again when Sri Lanka was hit by massive floods. She also explained how India not only invited the heads of SAARC Nations during the swearing in ceremony of the present Prime Minister but also help one-on-one talks with the SAARC Nations. And she repeatedly maintained that India doesn’t advocate war but it will not Yield to Chinese Pressure.
Now after over a month of muscle flexing by the Chinese, they have decided to retreat from the Sikkim Border (Doklam). India has decided to reciprocate the action too.
MEA Press Statement on Doklam Disengagement Understanding pic.twitter.com/fVo4N0eaf8
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) August 28, 2017
This is a lesson in International Diplomacy. Be calm, Be composed, Work out your options and frustrate the enemy. This is a major loss of face for the Chinese. After so much posturing they couldn’t do a thing. And this is a major victory for Narendra Modi. He defeated China without firing a single bullet.