Tension in Sino-Indian boundary

New Delhi seems to be eager to play down the threat coming from the Chinese build up at Doklam. The official line is that there is nothing to worry, everything is all right. But ground reports are different. The PLA seems about to begin building the disputed road which led to a 73-day eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with the Indian army, forcing the PLA to abandon the project. Now they seem set on building the road and is ready for an armed conflict should India resist. New Delhi has not made public its assessment of the developing situation. Meanwhile, there are media reports that the army has, due to “financial constraints” shelved all new raisings for the Mountain Strike Corps specifically meant for defending the India-China border in the high Himalayas.
If India has any doubt about Chinese intentions, the priority should be to strengthen our defences to the maximum extent in the Himalayan border so that there is no repetition of 1962. The people do not know whether the several one-to-one meetings that the Prime Minister had with the Chinese President in the recent past either helped him to read the Chinese mind or to get any indication that Beijing does not want an armed conflict with India. China will respect India if it knows it for certain that India is not going to allow itself to be bullied into submission. The terrain there puts India in a better strategic position.  China’s intention is clear: to start building the road from Doklam southwards across the Torsa Nala to the Zompelri Ridge. This will bring the Chinese within striking distance of the Chicken’s Neck or Siliguri Corridor – the narrow strip of land that connects North-East India to the main land.
The situation in that area is, indeed, tense. Local people on the Indian side are spending their days in uncertainty. They fear that the Indian army may ask them to vacate their villages and move out anytime. The prevailing uncertainty has brought Sino-Indian border trade at Nathula pass in Sikkim practically to a standstill. The least New Delhi can do now is to take the people into confidence and say what the situation is and what we are going to do should a contingency arise.

Friday, 24 August, 2018