FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

China-India Standoff: Modi Has Bitten Off More Than He Can Chew

Delusion and petulance are character flaws in a politician that often boomerang or, in soccer parlance, score one’s own goal.

Three years into Modi’s reign as India’s prime minister, some of his major policies such as demonetisation, have done precisely that. The latest border standoff with China, caused by Modi, looks likely to end up with eggs on his face.

The ongoing face-off at the tri-junction at Donglang or Doklam Plateau, where China, India (Sikkim) and Bhutan territories abut one another, is different from past skirmishes (excluding the Sino-India War in 1962) in more ways than one.

First, the flashpoint is in Chinese-controlled area to which Bhutan also lays claim. Second, Indian troops and vehicles crossed into Donglang purportedly on behalf of Bhutan. That was a lie, according to information emanating from Thimphu. Bhutan’s troops were at the border at the time India’s incursion took place, and the Bhutanese didn’t seek help from the Indian soldiers there.

Why is New Delhi more interested in Donglang than Thimphu, the claimant? Donglang is a strategic plateau lying in the tri-junction that stands above the narrow Siliguri corridor or “chicken neck” that connects the  northeastern states to the rest of India. Seizing control of the corridor by China in a war means cutting the northeastern states from the rest of India.

Chinese academics have pointed out that India’s intrusion into Chinese-controlled Donglang on behalf of a third party i.e. Bhutan, has set a precedent which China can invoke against India in future.

A potential case is India-controlled Jammu and Kashmir or J&K in Kashmir, also claimed by Pakistan. China now has full justification to send troops into J&K at the request of its ally Pakistan. Such scenario would send chills down the spine of Indians collectively.

The border standoff also makes Bhutanese, the happiest people on earth based on the Gross National Happiness index invented by their King, less than happy.

A virtual protectorate of India which is in de facto control of Thimphu’s foreign affairs, defence and economy, Bhutan has long chaffed at New Delhi’s stranglehold over Bhutan. Thimphu has, since the British left India, walked a tightrope between subservience to India and its own independence to avoid being annexed by India, as Sikkim was in 1975.

Bhutan’s border negotiations with China, after more than 20 rounds over 30 years, are still not settled due to interference by New Delhi. Unlike Nepal which has moved closer to China in recent years, Bhutan is impeded in reaching out to Beijing.

Thimphu’s tolerance for New Delhi’s suffocating control is at breaking point. The potential for India losing its closest ally in South Asia has just gone up several notches.

More articles by:

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?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail