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In a defiant rejoinder to China, Indian Defense Minister Arun Jatley has said that India of 2017 is different from that of 1962.He said this a day after the People’s Liberation Army(PLA) reportedly reminded India of its military debacle in the NEFA war of 1962.

“If they are trying to remind us, the situation in 1962 was different, the India of today is different,” said Jatley on Friday on Friday. China warned India on Thursday that it will escalate the current border row if Indian troops did not withdraw from “Chinese territory” and told New Delhi not to “clamor for war”. Both countries are currently embroiled in a border stand-off at the Doklam Plateau. China is trying to build a road from Doklam to Doka La. The Donglong (Doklam) is a tri-junction area near the Chumbi Valley. It is under China’s control. However, Bhutan claims sovereignty over the area. India has expressed its concerns regarding the road construction. In a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs, Delhi said that the road would represent significant change of status quo with security implications.

Bhutan said it has also issued a demarche to China over the construction of the road and asked Beijing to restore the “status quo” by stopping the work immediately. The spat comes at the time when geopolitical tectonic plates are shifting, hence the flare-up at a tactical level is being given strategic connotations.

Jatley said that Bhutan government had made it clear that China was trying to claim Bhutanese land and said this was “absolutely wrong.” “After the statement of the government of Bhutan, I think the situation is absolutely clear. It is Bhutan’s land, close to the Indian border, and Bhutan and India have an arrangement to provide security. Bhutan itself clarified… China is trying to alter the present status-quo. After this, I think the issue is absolutely clear. To say we will come there and grab the land of some other country is what China is doing and it is absolutely wrong,” the minister stated.

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Earlier, Bhutan also asked China to stop constructing the motorable road from Dokola in the Doklam area towards the Bhutan Army camp at Zompelri, which it says affects the process of demarcating the boundary between the two countries. Bhutan said it has also issued a demarche to China over the construction of the road and asked Beijing to restore the “status quo” by stopping the work immediately. The spat comes at the time when geopolitical tectonic plates are shifting, hence the flare-up at a tactical level is being given strategic connotations.

Calculated military brinkmanship?

The spokesman of the PLA Col Wu Qian attacked Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat for his recent remark that the “Army is fully prepared for a two-and-a-half-front war (a reference to China, Pakistan and internal security).” “Such rhetoric is extremely irresponsible,” Col Wu said when asked about General Rawat’s remark. “We hope the particular person in the Indian Army could learn from historical lessons and stop clamoring for war,” he added.

The stand-off which is becoming quite serious and according to the Indian media, both militaries are beefing up their reinforcements by 3,000 troops each. The Indian Army Chief, General Rawat visited 17 Mountain Division and 23 Mountain Divisions. The chief reportedly looked into the deployment of the 17 Mountain Division which is responsible for eastern Sikkim.  India has made it clear that it will not allow China to construct a motorable road till the tri-junction.

The fact that a face-off at Sikkim is a rare occurrence, questions are being raised as to why the ante has been upped. China has been wary of India’s intentions in Tibet since Delhi helped in organizing a not-so-hush-hush conference of Tibetans, Uighurs, Falungongs and 1989 dissidents at Mcleodganj in May 2016.The recent visit of Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh led to a fierce Chinese verbal tirade perhaps because Beijing feared that the Dalai Lama will announce his successor in Tawang.

Chumbi Valley is where PLA is most vulnerable to a three pronged offensive from the West, East and South. India is in a position of advantage. PLA wants to secure the Eastern Shoulder ie Deplang Plateau in Bhutan that gives Bhutan/India access to Chumbi Valley. Also the road from Lhasa to Yatung passes close to and at places through the fringe of the Deplang Plateau. There is constant jostling along the LAC but this is the first time in Bhutanese territory even though this area is a disputed one between Bhutan and PRC. India is responsible for defense of Bhutan. This time the PRC reaction to India’s “reaction/action” is rather strong. Normally it acts smug as it initiates most incidents. India is playing it cool this time. We wait for further developments. In any case the incident/continuous confrontation is now 3-4 weeks old.” said Lt Gen Panag.

China is ostensibly concerned about India’s military amelioration in Sikkim, a sector at which India enjoys a tactical advantage owing to terrain. India’s plans to raise a strike corps has added to these misgivings. Much of this has been taken as a visible change in Indian posturing.

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Defense analyst and former commander of Indian Army’s Northern Command, Lt Gen H S Panag told GVS that this confrontation and the reaction to it is different.”Chumbi Valley is where PLA is most vulnerable to a three pronged offensive from the West, East and South. India is in a position of advantage. PLA wants to secure the Eastern Shoulder ie Deplang Plateau in Bhutan that gives Bhutan/India access to Chumbi Valley. Also the road from Lhasa to Yatung passes close to and at places through the fringe of the Deplang Plateau. There is constant jostling along the LAC but this is the first time in Bhutanese territory even though this area is a disputed one between Bhutan and PRC. India is responsible for defense of Bhutan. This time the PRC reaction to India’s “reaction/action” is rather strong. Normally it acts smug as it initiates most incidents. India is playing it cool this time. We wait for further developments. In any case the incident/continuous confrontation is now 3-4 weeks old.” said Lt Gen Panag.

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Uncle Sam’s blessings?

Much to the delight of Delhi, the joint statement of the Trump-Modi meet alluded to India’s concerns about OBOR,albeit indirectly.The statement speaks of the need to promote connectivity “through the transparent development of infrastructure and the use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law and environment and call on other nations in the region to adhere to these principles”.

Moscow-based geopolitical analyst, Andrew Korybko gave his take on the matter to GVS.”The Chinese-Indian clashes are very predictable because it was obvious that the US is using India as its proxy for “containing” China. Just as the US “flipped” China against the USSR in the Old Cold War by exploiting their preexisting differences, so too is it doing the same with India against China and the multipolar world in the New Cold War. Modi ordered the incursion into China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region while he was in the US meeting with Trump, which should say all that there needs to be said about what’s really going on here, he said.

China and India are concerned about what they deem as an expansive China. Beijing has warned-off a US warships near the disputed South China Sea. “Under the pretext of ‘freedom of navigation,’ the US side once again sent a military vessel into China’s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands without China’s approval,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a statement. He added that such US behaviour “violated Chinese law and relevant international law, infringed upon China’s sovereignty, and disrupted the peace, security and order of the relevant waters.”

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The US will compete with China in the region and it is hence believed that it will reinvigorate the Sino-Indo rivalry, which in its right is deep and old.Moscow-based geopolitical analyst, Andrew Korybko gave his take on the matter to GVS.”The Chinese-Indian clashes are very predictable because it was obvious that the US is using India as its proxy for “containing” China. Just as the US “flipped” China against the USSR in the Old Cold War by exploiting their preexisting differences, so too is it doing the same with India against China and the multipolar world in the New Cold War. Modi ordered the incursion into China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region while he was in the US meeting with Trump, which should say all that there needs to be said about what’s really going on here, he said.

The stand-off is expected to wither away as both countries can ill-afford a military confrontation at this stage.

 

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. It is China which is vitiating the atmosphere of peace in the Far East and South East Asia. China is seriously suffering from the decease of “Compulsive land grabbing Syndrome” by way of bullying tactics. It has grabbed vast India’s land in 1962, raped and ransacked Tibet and went to war with the then Soviet Union around Ussuri river. The soviet Union with its Red Army pulverized the PLA and China suffered a humiliating drubbing. China uses North Korea as its colony to threaten the US with its nuclear weapons, just to keep off the US from the issue of South China Sea and uses another colony Rogue Pakistan to create violence in India’s Kashmir. The newly acquired economic success has gone into their heads. Therefore, China is itching for a showdown to show its armed might against smaller nations in Asia. It has border problems with every country in Asia and constantly in a confrontational attitude towards Japan, Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam. Like Pakistan, the China rulers are under the influence of PLA bosses as its is evident that the PLA has a greater domination and say in the Chinese decision making system. As far as India is concerned, China is a rogue country number one along with another rogue country Pakistan and these two countries are a very serious threat world peace and. They should be contained at any cost.

    • Wow u r so full of shit. Conveniently forgetting Israels action in Palestine, US setting up ISIS then attacking Syria relentlessely and for that matter human rights abuses by india in indian held Kashmir. Remember pellets blinding innocent people?

      Humanity and tolerance in general is lacking globally. Any country would go to any extent for the sake of power and dominance. In ‘your suggested world’ everyone needs to bomb everyone.

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