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Indo-China stalemate at Doklam: China will have to ultimately relent
China-India stalemate at Doklam in Bhutan intensified after China tried to intimidate India through its mouth piece 'Global Times'. Even in Indian media, reports started appearing predicting that this standoff would escalate into a war between India and China, where India would be at the receiving end due to China's might. Many social media posts also began circulating giving comparative studies of military assets of both India and China.

Whether there would be a war or not, and in case, if a war breaks out, what would be the results, this question we shall deal with in the later part of this article. But, before that, let's analyze the rhetorical threatening by China through its Communist Party of China-controlled media.

First, China reminded India of 1962 while completely ignoring the humiliation it had suffered in 1967 at the hands of the Indian Army in Sikkim. China has also threatened that it might reconsider its recognition of Sikkim (given by it only in 2003) and work towards the independence of Sikkim. However, what China forgets is that India too could consider giving recognition of Tibet, could recognise Taiwan as an independent state, support the pro-democratic activists of Hong Kong etc.

Interestingly, China has also gone to the extent of saying that the Indian government is misleading its citizens on the ground situation at the Indo-China border in Sikkim. But what China forgets is that India is a democratic country with an independent media which is free from government censoring, whereas the Chinese media is fully controlled by the Communist regime of the country.

Now, coming back to the question, whether this stalemate would escalate into war between India and China! Well, I don't think so, although, a restricted military confrontation could be a remote possibility. There are compelling reasons for China to not indulge in a war with India as explained below.

China is facing a difficult situation at this moment. First of all, a protest is going on in Hong Kong demanding more democratic rights which is being supported by the United Kingdom and some other Western countries.

On the other hand, North Korea's ballistic missile test has angered America which resulted in President Trump sanctioning an over 1.44 billion weapons deal for Taiwan, the island country which claims not to be a part of the Chinese mainland.

ASEAN and African countries where China has invested billions of dollars on road infrastructure are dissenting, accusing China of colonial behaviour and racism by the Chinese authorities. Some of the projects have been stalled due to local protests.

Moreover, South China Sea has became more volatile due to the United States increasing its naval activity in the region.

Although, Chinese premier Xi Jinping described his recent visit to Russia as the best friendship visit till date, the fact is that China has been losing friends around the globe faster than ever, with Russia being no exception. Notably, Russia has also refrained from openly supporting China on SCS issue. Today, China is left with only two allies namely Pakistan and North Korea – both ill-reputed as rogue nations.

The Indo-China standoff in Doklam has given an impression to the international community that a mighty China is trying to grab land from Bhutan – a tiny and peaceful nation. The demarche by Bhutanese government through the Indian embassy (Bhutan and China have no diplomatic relations) has made China look suspicious.

Furthermore, the Malabar joint naval exercise between India, USA and Japan due to start on July 10 has also left China fuming. Even Australia is expected to join in this joint exercise featuring warships of all the three nations.

So, keeping in mind all these odds, I don't think China will make the cardinal mistake of escalating this standoff into a full-scale war with India. After all, why would China jeopardise its goodwill and economic superiority for a remote mountainous piece of land?

In a mature way, PM Modi-led Indian government has hardly responded to these high decibel threats by the Chinese media, but yet at the same time, the Indian government has remained firm that it will not allow any intrusion from China.

Could there be a restricted military conflict between the two Asian neighbours?

I think there is a remote possibility of that happening especially in wake of the meeting between Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit at Hamburg being cancelled by China.

But, even if there's a limited conflict, China would be at the receiving end as India has a geographical advantage over China. Besides, the Indian Army apart from being professional, is expert in mountain warfare and could easily give a bloody nose to the Chinese Army, in case of a conflict, as it had given them in Sikkim in 1967.

Also, China's war history has been an unfathomable one. In the Korean War, despite directly leading the North Korean Army, it couldn't gain back South Korea. In 1979, China had intruded in to Vietnam, but only to retreat after a bashing.

Finally, last and the least, China would also avoid this misadventure against India as for a full scale war with its Asian neighbour, itwould have to mobilise half the world's support, which looks a distant reality as of now.

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 In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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