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INDIA – CHINA STAND-OFF IN DOKALAM

Historical Back Ground

The Donglang region popularly known as Tri Junction,  has remained a hot spot, under the control of China but keenly watched by New Delhi given its proximity to the narrow strip of territory that connects India’s northeast with the rest of the country. Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognizes as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region. China and Bhutan had about 24 rounds of boundary talk over this region without any tangible results. It is felt that China has deliberately left this area as unresolved to be used to pressurize India at an opportune moment.

Current Crisis

China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Dokalam area near the Bhutan tri-junction, after a Chinese army’s construction party came to build a road.

Last month China began building a road on the territory also claimed by Bhutan, a move seen as upsetting the status quo. India considers the road as serious “security concern” and that the area that China is claiming as its own is disputed by Bhutan as its territory.

Although China and Bhutan have spent decades negotiating the precise border without serious incident, this time Bhutan sought help from its long-time ally, India, which sent troops onto the plateau. India responded by ordering the Army to restrict Chinese activities in the disputed region, which has resulted into each side amassing troops resulting into a military stand off

Each side reportedly, has about 3,000 soldiers facing off across a remote plateau in the pocket of land where Tibet meets Sikkim and Bhutan.

Serious media war has erupted between the two countries accusing each other on various issues.

View Point – Options for India & China

  • It must be stressed by both sides that the stand-off can be best resolved through mature diplomacy and not through the use of force as is being threatened by Chinese media. Media of both countries should work towards a peaceful resolution of the crisis rather than fueling it unnecessarily.
  • Chinese pre-condition to India to withdraw troops should also address the recent construction activities, which must be stopped to maintain status quo.
  • The Doklam crisis should remain a localized issue and not allowed to spread to other areas of boundary disputes between India and China.
  • Kailash Mansarover Yatra must be started by China as first step towards diffusion of the situation, albeit through alternate route.
  • Border tension with China should not be allowed to come in way of trade and economic relations between the two countries.
  • China should be reassured by India that its growing relations with US & other Nations are not targeted against it. The Military exercises like Malabar are also not targeted against it.

India should use this opportunity to get some concrete results in settling other disputes in on going border talks with China, which is slated for this year some time later

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