Beijing: China and India have again locked horns along parts of their 3,500km-long border — over a plateau called Doklam in India and Donglang in China. It lies at the junction between China, the Indian state of Sikkim and Bhutan. Both China and Bhutan claim the plateau. Since Bhutan has a treaty agreement with India, New Delhi supports Bhutan’s claim.
While border skirmishes between the two are a regular feature, the current standoff, the longest since the 1962 war, began on June 16 when Indian troops attempted to prevent the Chinese from building a border road through the plateau Doklam. The construction, said India’s Ministry of External Affairs “would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India”.
Once completed, the road can give China easier access to India’s strategically vulnerable 20km-wide corridor, known as “Chicken’s neck” that links India’s main landmass with its seven northeastern states. India is afraid that China’s road-building close to the border could be part of a long-term strategic plan that would help Beijing cut off India at one of its most vulnerable points. The Chinese understand that control over this area offers them a huge advantage on the ground.
In Asia’s interest it is incumbent upon the Asia’s two leading powers to keep the outsiders out and resolve their differences through mutual accommodation so that Asia reverts to its historic primacy soon.