India and China have come face to face time-to-time over the non-demarcated parts of their common border. But the recent standoff between the two neighboring armies in the border over the construction of a road by China near the tri-junction (India, China and Bhutan) as the construction is alarming for the internal security of India, as it may allow Chinese troops to cut India’s access to its northeastern States.
To be more precise, the current border face-off between Indian and Chinese troops is situated on a plateau India calls Doko La, China has named Donglang and Bhutan identifies as Doklam. China insists the plateau falls in its territory, Bhutan argues it is disputed between them China and Bhutan. And therefore it requested India to send its troops, accordingly India sent its troop also with the thought that the effect to Bhutan is an immediate effect to India as Chinese troops access to the plateau means its control over chicken neck near Sikkim which connects Northeastern States of India with the rest of the country.
With Indian troops in action, China forced India to suspend pilgrim’s entry for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through the Nathu La pass in Sikkim by blocking a pass en route to Kailash Mansarovar.
It is probably the first time Indian troops have challenged their Chinese counterparts beyond India’s territory, which China is not able to digest. Beijing immediately reacted; Chinese Foreign Secretary Spokesperson Lu Kang said we were “feeling shocked and confounded”. “The nature of this case is that Indian troops illegally crossed the demarcated boundary into Chinese territory, People will reach the just conclusion. If India wants to achieve its political purposes by sending military personnel across (the) demarcated boundary, China urges India to not do so.”
The most recent development is that the Centre has directed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which guards the India-China frontier, to deploy more soldiers along the Line of Actual Control between India and China and increase outposts, in the midst of an escalating standoff with the neighboring country. Sources in the Union home ministry are of the view that the move to deploy more ITBP personnel was taken in the aftermath of frequent face-offs with the People’s Liberation Army of China along the disputed border in Arunachal Pradesh. “The move is undertaken to check the current face-off between the two countries near their tri-junction with Bhutan. Also the deployment of more soldiers will ensure better patrolling along the frontier and also help us to keep a close tab on the movement of Chinese troops in the area and thwart possible incursions” according to the sources in the Ministry.
The ITBP guards the 3,488km India-China border along Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. A large part of the border, which is disputed. The 90,000-strong ITBP was introduced on October 24, 1962, specifically to guard the Chinese frontier after the India-China war.
The standoff is a sharp stand, which India took against China, for whom raising problems with India time to time has become a tradition after the war in 1962. It’s also a message to the China that you cannot do away with anything you want in the subcontinent.
By Joydeep Das Gupta