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India-China face-off in Sikkim's Doklam area: Any escalation would be damaging for China
For the last couple of weeks, a face off between Indian and Chinese troops has been taking place in Doklam area of Sikkim sector. There are conflicting reports emerging from the border region.

As per Chinese government sources, China has registered a strong protest regarding Indian soldiers violating the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and stopping a road's construction by China in its territory. China too has also blocked the Kailash Mansarovar yatra from its side citing that first Indian soldiers must retreat from its area.

However, according to official sources from Bhutan and India, it's learnt that China has violated the LAC and started constructing a motorable road in Bhutan's territory very near to the India-China-Bhutan border. Bhutan has also expressed strong objection to it.

The point to be noted is that Bhutan is amongst India's friendly countries and India is obliged to defend it from external attacks or incursions. Moreover, that area is too close to Siliguri (West Bengal) where there's a very narrow corridor between Indian mainland and its Northeast region, referred to as chicken neck portion in military terms. Thus, China's sole intent for constructing the road (that has no connectivity to any Chinese inhabitants/villages) is to choke India in case of a military conflict. Hence, India can't afford to be a sitting duck knowing very well the neighbour's ill intent.

Although the Chinese government doesn't talk much about conflict/face-off, but their government-sponsored English language newspaper 'Global Times' continuously threatens India using strongly worded headlines like 'Catastrophe for India in case of a show down', 'India needs to be taught a lesson on rules of Border', 'Indian wish to contain China with help of USA will not be successful' etc. Frankly, all the articles/columns on Global Timesare simply meant for intimidating India to fall in line or else face a repeat of 1962.

But, the point is, whether China is preparing for another 1962?

We will discuss about the same bit later, but let's first understand that the recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Modi to USA has disturbed China a lot. Initially, China had thought that the ever unpredictable Donald Trump would never maintain cordial relations with India like his predecessor Obama did. Moreover, in the past too, the German Chancellor, Japanese PM and others (with the sole exception of Britain's PM Theresa May) had a forgettable US visits due to Donald Trump's unfriendly behaviour. But what happened, was the exact opposite.

The recent Modi-Trump meet may not yield any significant short term benefits, but the body language of both leaders, the way they focused on common convergence points, has not gone down well with China. Both leaders named and shamed Pakistan, which is now China's unofficial colony. They referred to North Korea in their joint statement. Besides, the Malabar joint naval exercise between USA-India-Japan has also upset China a lot.

Now let's understand what China's problem is. If you happen to read through articles published on Global Times (Chinese government sponsored media), they just seem to be threatening countries like Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, India etc, by referring to common phrases such as: USA is a declining force; China is an emerging force; China can't be contained by USA, Japan and India.

By doing so, China wishes to spread the message across that no country should fall into the trap of USA and Japan. And since the only emerging power in the world is China, all countries should negotiate with them in case of any dispute. Soon the code of conduct in South China Sea (SCS) will also be released by the Chinese government.

Simply put, China has huge aspirations of becoming a world power and the sole and undisputed bully in the Asia-Pacific region. It thinks that the United States is no more a power and the only option Russia has is to follow China.

Yes, no doubt China is very ambitious and a section of the Chinese Communist Party also thinks that it's high time that China moved ahead demanding it's due place on the globe. However, this type of attitude was also shown by Hitler which ultimately resulted in to World War-II and permanently ending Hitler's era.

Would China trigger a world war?

Well, technically, nothing is impossible. China-North Korea-Pakistan-Russia-Iran could be on one side and rest of the world on the other. The only option for India would be to side with USA, Japan and NATO countries.

But then, I don't think that a majority of Chinese leaders would want to repeat the mistakes made by Hitler. USA although might appear to be a declining power, but from global fire power perspective and economy-wise it's still greater than China and Russia put together. Then, other countries including India aren't much behind China. India is ranked as fourth in global fire power whereas the top three spots are occupied by USA, Russia and China.

Even in case of a bilateral face-off, India is not at all weak in defending its borders. Global Times never fails to remind India about 1962, but perhaps selectively ignores 1967 when the Indian army had humiliated Chinese forces and compelled them to retreat from the then independent Kingdom of Sikkim. China had intruded into the Royal Kingdom of Sikkim in 1967 claiming that its was a part of Tibet. The Indian army at the request of Sikkim's monarch entered Sikkim and forced the Chinese army out in a military exercise. Sikkim later merged with India in 1975, to which the Chinese didn't give recognition for decades.

The Indo-China border is in very difficult terrain with almost uninhabitable climatic conditions. Thus, a confrontation in such areas doesn't depend upon how strong fire power you have but rather on the determination of soldiers. That's why I think that China won't escalate this face-off into a full blown war.

But for now, it's time for a test of nerves. It's always said that a diplomat's bargaining power depends upon the strength of his nation's army. India is playing down the situation very carefully and meticulously. The Indian Army Chief is visiting Sikkim border to give a strong message that Indian Army is not going to compromise on its territory. On the other hand that Indian government is moving diplomatically without saying a single provocative word. That's a brilliant mature and way to tackle an enemy like China. H_ opefully, things will settle down soon because any escalation would always cost China more, militarily, diplomatically and economically too.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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deepinder singh
Before there is a military stand off there always is a diplomatic stand off. It is well established that force is used when diplomacy to enforce one's will fails. Let us examine the present Sino-Indian face off. 1 China must realize that India has no territorial or maritime designs. It is China which claims territory which it says was 'inherited' by India from the British. At no stage has India claimed to any territory of any nation from the time of its independence.2 China should desist from its oft repeated reminder of 'teaching a lesson' to India as it did in 1962. For that matter should India remind China of the Nanking lesson, the Korean lesson,the Ussuri River clash, the Sino-Indian 1967 clash, the Vietnamese lesson of 1979 ? It serves no purpose.3 China is still in illegal occupation of certain territory (Aksai Chin area) which it captured when it 'taught India a lesson' in 1962.4 See the unreasonable attitude of China. It objects to any economic, construction related or physical activity in certain regions of the South/East China Sea's calling it 'disputed territory' --- by the same merit the Pakistan occupied part of Kashmir is a 'disputed territory', but China undertakes construction activity there !5 India has an absolutely clean record as far as proliferation of nuclear and missile technology is concerned. No country helped India acquire this technology and India has given no country this technology. The world community is fully aware of how sensitive technology has been shared by Pakistan, N Korea and China (even the erstwhile USSR is to be blamed).6 China accepted certain part of territory of J
Tony Sarao
Before there is a military stand off there always is a diplomatic stand off. It is well established that force is used when diplomacy to enforce one's will fails. Let us examine the present Sino-Indian face off. 1 China must realize that India has no territorial or maritime designs. It is China which claims territory which it says was 'inherited' by India from the British. At no stage has India claimed to any territory of any nation from the time of its independence.2 China should desist from its oft repeated reminder of 'teaching a lesson' to India as it did in 1962. For that matter should India remind China of the Nanking lesson, the Korean lesson,the Ussuri River clash, the Sino-Indian 1967 clash, the Vietnamese lesson of 1979 ? It serves no purpose.3 China is still in illegal occupation of certain territory (Aksai Chin area) which it captured when it 'taught India a lesson' in 1962.4 See the unreasonable attitude of China. It objects to any economic, construction related or physical activity in certain regions of the South/East China Sea's calling it 'disputed territory' --- by the same merit the Pakistan occupied part of Kashmir is a 'disputed territory', but China undertakes construction activity there !5 India has an absolutely clean record as far as proliferation of nuclear and missile technology is concerned. No country helped India acquire this technology and India has given no country this technology. The world community is fully aware of how sensitive technology has been shared by Pakistan, N Korea and China (even the erstwhile USSR is to be blamed).6 China accepted certain part of territory of J
Tony Sarao
Before there is a military stand off there always is a diplomatic stand off. It is well established that force is used when diplomacy to enforce one's will fails. Let us examine the present Sino-Indian face off. 1 China must realize that India has no territorial or maritime designs. It is China which claims territory which it says was 'inherited' by India from the British. At no stage has India claimed to any territory of any nation from the time of its independence.2 China should desist from its oft repeated reminder of 'teaching a lesson' to India as it did in 1962. For that matter should India remind China of the Nanking lesson, the Korean lesson,the Ussuri River clash, the Sino-Indian 1967 clash, the Vietnamese lesson of 1979 ? It serves no purpose.3 China is still in illegal occupation of certain territory (Aksai Chin area) which it captured when it 'taught India a lesson' in 1962.4 See the unreasonable attitude of China. It objects to any economic, construction related or physical activity in certain regions of the South/East China Sea's calling it 'disputed territory' --- by the same merit the Pakistan occupied part of Kashmir is a 'disputed territory', but China undertakes construction activity there !5 India has an absolutely clean record as far as proliferation of nuclear and missile technology is concerned. No country helped India acquire this technology and India has given no country this technology. The world community is fully aware of how sensitive technology has been shared by Pakistan, N Korea and China (even the erstwhile USSR is to be blamed).6 China accepted certain part of territory of J
Tony Sarao
Before there is a military stand off there always is a diplomatic stand off. It is well established that force is used when diplomacy to enforce one's will fails. Let us examine the present Sino-Indian face off. 1 China must realize that India has no territorial or maritime designs. It is China which claims territory which it says was 'inherited' by India from the British. At no stage has India claimed to any territory of any nation from the time of its independence.2 China should desist from its oft repeated reminder of 'teaching a lesson' to India as it did in 1962. For that matter should India remind China of the Nanking lesson, the Korean lesson,the Ussuri River clash, the Sino-Indian 1967 clash, the Vietnamese lesson of 1979 ? It serves no purpose.3 China is still in illegal occupation of certain territory (Aksai Chin area) which it captured when it 'taught India a lesson' in 1962.4 See the unreasonable attitude of China. It objects to any economic, construction related or physical activity in certain regions of the South/East China Sea's calling it 'disputed territory' --- by the same merit the Pakistan occupied part of Kashmir is a 'disputed territory', but China undertakes construction activity there !5 India has an absolutely clean record as far as proliferation of nuclear and missile technology is concerned. No country helped India acquire this technology and India has given no country this technology. The world community is fully aware of how sensitive technology has been shared by Pakistan, N Korea and China (even the erstwhile USSR is to be blamed).6 China accepted certain part of territory of J
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