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China has conveyed to foreign diplomats in Beijing that troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been waiting patiently at the Doklam plateau in a standoff with Indian troops, but will not wait for an indefinite period, quoted an Indian newspaper.

India is concerned that if the road is completed, it will give China greater access to India’s strategically vulnerable “chicken’s neck”, a 20km (12-mile) wide corridor that links the seven north-eastern states to the Indian mainland.

In June this year, India accused China of constructing a road in the disputed territory towards Doklam plateau, an objection that the Royal Bhutanese Army has also raised. India intervened in the crisis supporting Bhutan’s stand and asking China to halt its construction work. China claims Doklam plateau, an 89 sq km pasture that falls close to Chumbi Valley at the corner of India-Bhutan-China tri-junction and is not very far from the Sikkim sector.

Read more: Tense China & India Relations: How building bridges doesn’t always help

India is concerned that if the road is completed, it will give China greater access to India’s strategically vulnerable “chicken’s neck”, a 20km (12-mile) wide corridor that links the seven north-eastern states to the Indian mainland.

Both India and China have rushed more troops to the border region, and media reports say the two sides are in an “eyeball to eyeball” stand-off.

Chinese officials say that in opposing the road construction, Indian border guards obstructed “normal activities” on the Chinese side, and called on India to immediately withdraw.

Both India and China have rushed more troops to the border region, and media reports say the two sides are in an “eyeball to eyeball” stand-off.

Read more: Is India all-set for Himalayan blunder 2.0?

What next?

The region saw clashes between China and India in 1960’s, and tensions still flare occasionally. Commentators say the latest development appears to be one of the most serious escalations in recent years.

It’s unlikely Beijing would want to risk an accidental skirmish with India, let alone a full-fledged war similar to that in 1962 — particularly in the midst of North Korean missile tests and diplomatic tension on multiple fronts over maritime borders.

The fact that Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama resides in India has also been a sticking point between the two countries.

This stand-off, in fact, comes within weeks of China’s furious protests against the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian state that China claims and describes as its own.

Read more: China rings alarm bells in India ; may militarily help Pakistan…

It’s unlikely Beijing would want to risk an accidental skirmish with India, let alone a full-fledged war similar to that in 1962 — particularly in the midst of North Korean missile tests and diplomatic tension on multiple fronts over maritime borders.

With both sides not ready to budge an inch from their stated positions, the tri-boundary could well become a war zone in the days to come. Whether it will end like the 1962 war remains to be seen; the stakes may be higher this time.

Similarly, India also cannot afford a conflict with China. The rising tensions in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, the escalation along LOC and the ongoing insurgencies in the Indian Red Corridor and other North-Eastern states provide little room to Indian high command to concentrate large forces along the Indo-Chinese border.

The only solution to this latest crisis between the two nuclear powers can be achieved through dialogue. Both the countries seem to be embroiled in an endless struggle to achieve regional dominance. With both sides not ready to budge an inch from their stated positions, the tri-boundary could well become a war zone in the days to come. Whether it will end like the 1962 war remains to be seen; the stakes may be higher this time.

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