28 Aug 2017/Sunday
Delivering the General BC Joshi Memorial Lecture in Pune COAS, India said “The recent stand-off in the Doklam plateau is an attempt to change the status quo by the Chinese and I think such kind of incidents are likely to increase in the future”.
It is seen that China has historically preferred to act in ways that go contrary to its signed commitments in the framework agreements as part of its National strategy. Its act of sending in PLA soldiers and engineers to build roads inside disputed territory in Bhutan, its recent intrusions across the LAC in India, its building of artificial islands in the South China Sea, is direct violation of its signed commitments or in its adoption of the 2002 SCS declaration that records its commitment to maintain status quo. China signs an agreement, abides by it for some time then renege its signed commitment or guiding principles.
The critical question that emerges is: why does China sign “guiding principles” and “framework agreements” with countries, with which it has territorial disputes and then violates the commitment to the status quo enshrined therein? It appears that Beijing follows this as its National Policy, to contain the behaviour of other states towards bilateral disputes giving an impression that Beijing does not intend to act contrary to the agreements signed. This leads to complacency as an atmosphere of mutual trust is crafted through instruments like “confidence building measures”. Simultaneously China keeps building a narrative citing ancient history to blindside their counterparts across the undefined borders. One fine day when it feels that it can violate the status quo it goes ahead without caring about the world opinion. However, this time China’s game plan has back fired in Doklam.