FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What’s Behind the China-India Standoff Near the Sikkim Border?

The flare-up at Donglang (or Dokalam or Doklam to Bhutan) in recent weeks came as a nasty surprise to Beijing.  Located smack in the triangular junction between China, India (Sikkim) and Bhutan, Donglang currently under Chinese control is claimed by both China and Bhutan. More than 10 rounds of negotiations between the two claimants in past decades have not resolved the issue. But peace had prevailed in the disputed area since the Sino-India War in 1962.

So why the sudden face-off now, and what caused the rupture?

Both Bhutan and India alleged that China had built roads on Bhutan territory in violation of a bilateral agreement. Last week, China gave photographic evidence showing that Indian troops and army vehicles had crossed into Chinese territory, which is clearly separated by the crest of the plateau. Beijing has also made public this week  a copy of a diplomatic note from the then Indian ambassador to Beijing affirming agreement with the borders between China, Sikkim and Bhutan.

The timing of the Indian incursion into Chinese territory gives India’s game away. Indian troops and vehicles crossed into Chinese territory on June 4. That was less than 3 weeks from the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in Bern, Switzerland from 22 to 24 June. The incursion sought to exert pressure on China to stop blocking India’s inclusion in NSG. And when China again objected to India’s inclusion, Modi’s petulance turned the border skirmish into a potential war.

But why the tri-junction, of all places along the more than 1,000 km border with China?

Over the past two years, China’s relations with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal have improved markedly after China’s multibillion- dollar loans and investments in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. An 8-billion dollar rail line, to be built and funded by Beijing, is at an advanced stage of discussion between China and Nepal. India sees red in China chipping away at Delhi’s sphere of influence. More so since Modi came into power with his Hindutva foreign policies that regard India as the Big Brother in South Asia. Modi must be up at night worrying about Bhutan, the most submissive of its brethren in South Asia, could be the next pivoting to Beijing. Hence, India’s trouble-making at the tri-junction, demonstrating to Bhutan that only India can protect Bhutan’s interest.

China has exercised utmost restraint in the standoff till now. If the Indian troops still refuse to withdraw from Chinese territory, China’s army are likely to kick the Indian intruders off Chinese territory. If Modi were foolish enough to fire the first shot, the Indians would rue their rash action. The lesson this time round will be more painful than the one Chinese taught them in 1962.

More articles by:

January 17, 2019
Stan Cox
That Green Growth at the Heart of the Green New Deal? It’s Malignant
David Schultz
Trump vs the Constitution: Why He Cannot Invoke the Emergencies Act to Build a Wall
Paul Cochrane
Europe’s Strategic Humanitarian Aid: Yemen vs. Syria
Tom Clifford
China: An Ancient Country, Getting Older
Greg Grandin
How Not to Build a “Great, Great Wall”
Ted Rall
Our Pointless, Very American Culture of Shame
John G. Russell
Just Another Brick in the Wall of Lies
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers Strike: Black Smoke Pouring Out of LAUSD Headquarters
Patrick Walker
Referendum 2020: A Green New Deal vs. Racist, Classist Climate Genocide
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Uniting for a Green New Deal
Matt Johnson
The Wall Already Exists — In Our Hearts and Minds
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Flailing will get More Desperate and More Dangerous
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party: Part Three
January 16, 2019
Patrick Bond
Jim Yong Kim’s Mixed Messages to the World Bank and the World
John Grant
Joe Biden, Crime Fighter from Hell
Alvaro Huerta
Brief History Notes on Mexican Immigration to the U.S.
Kenneth Surin
A Great Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons
Elizabeth Henderson
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Support a Green New Deal
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion
Jeff Mackler
Trump’s Syria Exit Tweet Provokes Washington Panic
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: When Just One Man Says, “No”
Cesar Chelala
Violence Against Women: A Pandemic No Longer Hidden
Kim C. Domenico
To Make a Vineyard of the Curse: Fate, Fatalism and Freedom
Dave Lindorff
Criminalizing BDS Trashes Free Speech & Association
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party: Part Two
Edward Curtin
A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot
January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail