China ups ante in high-altitude standoff with India

Saul Bowman
August 7, 2017

Since June 16, when Indian forces sought to prevent China from building a road in a part of the plateau claimed by Bhutan, the two powers have been locked in a standoff in the region.

India has said Beijing's action to "unilaterally determine tri-junction points" violated a 2012 India-China pact which says the boundary would be decided by consulting all the concerned parties.

Lashing out a strong warning at the Modi government, China on Saturday asked India to be aware of its army's overwhelming firepower and logistics.

China is taking an increasingly tough line on a border row with India amid a rising crescendo of nationalism in state media, and President Xi Jinping looks set for an awkward encounter with Prime Minister at a multilateral summit next month.

With the growing tension between India and China, the traders across the country are boycotting Chinese products and also urging the public to not purchase them. But the annual drill was suspended for four years after the first two editions in Kunming (2007) and Belagavi (2008), because of a raging diplomatic row on multiple visa issues, compounded by border frictions.

On Wednesday, China ramped up the rhetoric, accusing India of "concocting" excuses over the illegal entry of the South Asian nation's military into Chinese territory.

Desai also suggested that India should not make the mistake of equating the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) with the Pakistani Army.

Early in June, according to the Chinese interpretation of events, Indian guards crossed into China's Donglang region and obstructed work on a road on the plateau.

The editorial added, "India is concerned that the road China was building in Doklam might threaten the security of the Siliguri Corridor", however, it questioned that "how does that justify Indian troops' incursion into another country in utter disregard of global treaties?"

With India, the United States and China forming a "very combustible mixture right now", the fate of the ongoing Doklam standoff would largely depend upon events in the South China Sea, noted commentator on global affairs, Meghnad Desai has said.

The editorial, known for its hard hitting stance on India, said, "The Indian government's move is irresponsible to regional security and is gambling against India's destiny and its people's well-being". When asked about the possibility of any backchannel discussions with the U.S. on the Doklam standoff, Desai said that there were not just backchannel negotiations in play but it was being dealt with at the highest level by President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who talk directly to each other.

India has said it warned China that construction of the road near their common border would have serious security implications. China cherishes the decade-long peace on the border and wishes not to break it. Indian border troops are no rival to PLA field forces.

"India, which has stirred up the incident, should bear all the consequences".

"The Chinese side will inform the Indian Foreign Ministry before its operation", Hu said.

"There are still 48 Indian troops and one bulldozer illegally staying in the Chinese territory more than one and a half months after the outbreak of the incident", the Chinese diplomat said.

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