Sikkim standoff: Army readies for a long haul

Wednesday, 12 Jul, 2017

According to a report in The Times of India, India has moved 2,500 soldiers from their peace-time deployments in Sikkim to further reinforce its proactive stance.

Jaishankar also said it would be ill-advised to look at the Indo-China relationship in black and white.

The commentary said that since the Indian soldiers "crossed" into Chinese territory and obstructed work on a road in Doklam in June, China had lodged a series of protests demanding that India immediately pull back its troops.

Jaishankar's comments on the warm ties between New Delhi and Tokyo came five days after the Prime Ministers of the two countries - Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe met on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The Chinese Embassy in New Delhi issued an advisory to its people to pay attention to safety and avoid unnecessary travel within the country.

However, sources in Rahul Gandhi's office denied any meeting with Chinese envoy Luo Zhaohui.

"According to my information, the two leaders did not hold any bilateral meetings", Shuang said. Indian officials have often called it a "managed relationship" where border disputes and differences over Tibet or Arunachal Pradesh were kept on a slow track of protracted negotiations while the two neighbors fast-tracked their trade and economic relationships to a level that made them critical elements of each other's growth story. "But the fact is that today, India-China relations are really multi-faceted".

But the current Chinese build-up "is to diminish India in the eyes of the region", Ramachandran says. The space for Tibetan separatists has been largely squeezed as more Western countries have snubbed the Dalai Lama. However, when it is dissatisfied or has conflicts with Beijing, the Tibet card is played up.

"New Delhi publicly promises not to allow any anti-China political activities by Tibetan exiles on Indian territory".

The current military standoff between Indian and Chinese troops is the third one since May, escalating tensions between the two countries. Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.

India has begun consolidating its position for a "long haul" by pitching tents and getting additional troops and supplies at the standoff point with Chinese troops in Doklam area near the Bhutan tri-junction. China is already in talks with Bhutan over this issue, especially after the full 19 rounds of talks between the special representatives of the neighbours that have sought to resolve disputes like these amicably.

India and China have a complicated history of boundary disputes that dates to the creation of the McMahon Line, a 550-mi. border proposed by the foreign secretary of British India, Henry McMahon, in 1914.