Doklam THE CASE OF DISAGREEMENT
The recent standoff between India and China at the Doklam plateau which lies at a tri-junction between India, China and Bhutan has gained much attention. It has turned into the biggest military stand-off between the two armies in years. There are many who even fear for war. The offensive stand of China on Doko La (Doklam) and India’s strong warning in return, is the latest addition to the worries that spoil Indo-China relations. It started when India (Indian Army) objected a road construction by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China in the Doklam plateau which China claims to be a part of its Donglang region. However, India and Bhutan recognise Doklam, as a Bhutan territory. Later, China accused Indian troops of entering in its territory and India accused the Chinese of destroying its bunkers (People’s Liberation Army bulldozed an old bunker of the Indian army stationed in Doklam). Thereafter China stopped the pilgrim passage heading towards Kailash-Mansarovar through the Nathu La pass, Sikkim. The route is a better alternative to Lepu Lekh route via Uttarakhand and had been opened for pilgrims in 2015. Hereafter, both India and China increased the presence of their troops and since then there has been a war of words especially from the Chinese state media. Although a military standoff was averted, diplomatic negotiations have not yielded many results to cool-off the passions across the border.
OTHER ISSUES RELATING TO DISPUTE BETWEEN INDO-CHINA
Sri Lanka signed a USD 1.1 billion deal to sell a 70% stake in the strategic Hambantota port to China which draws major concerns over the massive debt the island nation incurred in the port’s construction.
The new provision is seen as an attempt to allay India’s concerns over Chinese navy’s possible presence in Sri Lanka. The port, overlooking the Indian Ocean, is expected to play a key role in China’s Belt and Road initiative, which will link ports and roads to the mainland China.
China blocking India’s request to add the chief of the Pakistan based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad to a UN Security Council blacklist that has links to Al Qaeda drew international criticism especially from the US Government. India has accused the JeM and its top leader, Masood Azhar, of masterminding several attacks, including an assault on an Indian air base in January 2016. The United State warned China by saying countries using veto to scuttle sanctioning of terrorists will not “preclude” it from taking action.
D.B.Rai with inputs from Rashmi Mizar & Donboklang Wanniang