China v. India – Doklam Plateau Dispute | Two Nuclear Powers Face Off over Bhutan | 2017-08-23
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Tensions between China and India have heated up over a remote frontier region in the Himalayas
The region is of strategic importance, and neighbouring Bhutan is now caught between
The ongoing standoff suggests tensions between the two powers could continue to grow in the coming years
While everyone’s been watching the chaos spilling out of the White House, a border standoff between two nuclear powers has been festering for two months.
China and India have rubbed up against each other in the Doklam territory — called Donglang in Chinese — a remote frontier region located at a convergence point of India, India’s ally Bhutan, and China.
The extended standoff appears to be one of the more significant in recent years, and comes at a time of weakening relations between the two powers. Analysts at BMI Research said the standoff suggests strains between China and India could continue in the coming years
What happened in the Doklam territory?
In mid-June, Bhutan found Chinese troops attempting to extend a road through a plateau in the Doklam territory. The region is claimed by both Bhutan and China due to contradictory phrases in an 1890 border agreement between Great Britain and China’s Qing dynasty, according to the New York Times.
India, which has no claim to the territory but supports Bhutan’s claim, sent troops to stop the construction.
China has since accused India of “trespassing” and said that India has interfered with “normal activities” on its side of the border. India responded by saying it got involved in order to help its ally, Bhutan.
Tensions have continued to simmer over the past several weeks, with both sides putting more troops on the border.
On August 15, Indian and Chinese troops clashed near Pangong Lake, a tourist attraction in the mountain region of Ladakh. A video of the skirmish shows both sides throwing rocks and punches.
That same week, state-run Chinese media Xinhua News published a propaganda video called the “7 Sins of India,” which took inflammatory jabs at Indians, and specifically at the minority Sikh community. Both Indian and international news outlets, including the BBC and the Washington Post, slammed the video as being racist.
Bhutan, which doesn’t have formal diplomatic relations with China, issued a formal statement accusing Beijing of building the road inside its territory and violating a 1998 agreement
Bhutan is caught between nuclear powers
Bhutan provides a strategic buffer for India. The two countries have cooperated closely in foreign policy since signing a treaty in 1949, and India has continued to pay and train Bhutan’s troops.
In 2007, they signed a revised friendship treaty, which gave Bhutan greater freedom in foreign policy and military purchases.
Bhutan has reportedly more recently been looking to China, in part because of the appeal of its tourism money. The New York Times reports that while Indian tourists don’t need visas to enter Bhutan, Chinese tourists have to pay $250 per day in advance for vacation packages — which is no small sum for a country whose GDP per capita was $2,751 in 2016.
Many Bhutanese interviewed by the NYT seemed more concerned about India than China. “Some note that one effect of India’s move — intended or not — has been to undermine border negotiations with China that could have cleared the way for closer economic ties,” Steven Lee Myers reported.
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Financial Express | Doklam standoff: China hopes India will take positive steps to correct its incorrect words, deeds
- The Doklam area is undisputed Chinese territory, claimed Hua, adding, “India’s intrusion into Chinese territory under the pretext of China’s road building lacks legal grounds and India’s arguments are simply untenable.” (Reuters)
- China has hoped that “India will take practical and positive actions to correct its incorrect words and deeds”. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks after Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday that although India is not aggressive and has never initiated an attack and it will not compromise on nation’s security.
- The Home Minister further added that he was hopeful that China will soon initiate a dialogue on the Doklam standoff and hoped that Beijing will make a positive move in this regard.
However, spokesperson Hua said that the precondition and basis for resolving the event is that India instantaneously and unconditionally withdraws its trespassing border troops and equipment to the Indian side of the boundary, Xinhua reports.
She further said, “China is a peace-loving country and definitely upholds peace, it will definitely protect its national sovereignty and territorial integrity and never allow any country to violate its territorial sovereignty for any reason.”
Rajnath Singh said global viewpoint is that, India is a country who has never cast an evil eye on any other country, nor does it docks an expansionist attitude that threatens its neighbors.
The Doklam area is undisputed Chinese territory, claimed Hua, adding, “India’s intrusion into Chinese territory under the pretext of China’s road building lacks legal grounds and India’s arguments are simply untenable.”
Good News India | Turkey Media on INDIA – CHINA Border Standoff ( Doklam ) 2017
China hopes that India will take practical and positive actions to correct its incorrect words and deeds, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Tuesday.
Spokesperson Hua Chunying made the comments after Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Monday that even though India is not aggressive and has never initiated an attack, it will not compromise on security.
Singh said a solution would soon be found to the ongoing stand-off between India and China at Doklam and that he hoped Beijing will make a positive move in this regard.
Hua reiterated that the prerequisite and basis for resolving the incident is that India immediately and unconditionally withdraws its trespassing border troops and equipment to the Indian side of the boundary.
Although China is a peace-loving country and firmly upholds peace, it will resolutely defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity and never allow any country to violate its territorial sovereignty for any reason, she said.
Singh said global opinion is that India has never cast an evil eye on any country, nor does it harbor an expansionist attitude that threatens its neighbors.
However, Hua said the facts are that Indian troops have illegally crossed the delimited boundary which has been recognized and abided by for nearly 130 years by both China and India, have continued to stay in the Chinese territory, and India has invented various excuses to justify its illegal actions.
“We hope that India can match its words with actions and immediately withdraw its troops and equipment that have encroached into Chinese territory,” she said.
The Times of India reported Monday that Indian officials have recently discussed the situation in Doklam with their Russian counterparts, reiterating India’s position that by constructing a road China was unilaterally changing the status quo and that this had serious security implications for India.
The Dong Lang (Doklam) area is undisputed Chinese territory, said Hua, noting that India’s intrusion into Chinese territory under the pretext of China’s road building lacks legal grounds and India’s arguments are simply untenable.
According to a position document on the Indian border troops’ illegal trespass into Chinese territory, China’s road building on its own territory is aimed at improving local transportation. China did not cross the boundary in its road construction, and it had notified India in advance.
Following India’s logic, if China feels that India’s infrastructure construction in border areas threatens Chinese security, China can openly send troops to Indian territory to stop it, said Hua.
She warned that If India’s absurd logic is tolerated, international norms will be undermined.
China has so far exercised a high degree of restraint, she said, hoping that India will act like a big country and come up with a responsible and reasonable attitude towards the resolution of the incident.
Mail Online | China loves counterfeit products and its outrage with India at Doklam is pure ‘fake news’
The world over, China is famous for its fake products. Whatever the ‘original’, China is sure to come up with a cheaper, if not so satisfactory, copy.
But can this be extended to the realm of ‘news’? No. Fake news, sooner than later, is revealed to be what it is. Bogus. False. This applies especially to China’s standoff with India at Doklam.
For China is using its economic and military clout to take over this territory by building a road through it.
To this end, it is belting out a barrage of fake news and views. But like its substandard, counterfeit products, no one believes Chinese propaganda either.
If the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ anti-India video put out by its inept, if overactive propaganda machinery is anything to go by, China is a racist and imperialist state, browbeating and threatening both friends and foes alike to achieve its ends.
Who would want to endorse or imitate it? No wonder, few Chinese cultural products or trends have gained worldwide currency.
If Chinese food is an exception it is precisely because it is not politicised or ideologised. The state doesn’t interfere in it; that is why it succeeds.
Why has China’s soft power failed miserably? The answer is simple: it usually manifests in the ugliest fashion. Like pulling out hundreds of unflattering articles from the Cambridge University Press published China Quarterly.
Given our eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with China over Doklam, is it any surprise that Chinese state-controlled media outlets have been spreading disinformation abroad as also creating an anti-India climate within China?
China has stopped sharing hydrological data with India for the Brahmaputra and Satluj rivers (Yarlung Zangbo and Satelai in Chinese). The move comes as India grapples with floods along the Brahmaputra in Assam and Uttar Pradesh, where over 150 people have lost their lives so far this season.
The two countries having been sharing hydrological data since a memorandum of understanding was reached in 2013.
The rationale for the data cutoff remains a bit of a mystery. A recent Global Times editorial trumpeted an expert opinion that India must withdraw from the Doklam Plateau before data sharing can resume, but the actual cutoff predates the Doklam Plateau standoff by months. According to Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, India has not received any data from the Chinese side since May of this year.
There is of course the possibility that China held back the water data to give itself leverage in anticipation of an Indian response to road building on the Doklam Plateau.
Whatever the reason, this is a foreign policy linkage that will deeply disturb Indian policymakers. Large swathes of India’s northeast rely on the Brahmaputra’s waters for irrigation, and as the upriver power – China is holding all the cards.
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