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Himalaya Border Disputes Between India And China

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#1 Panzermann


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 1313 PM

In the history section we have a topic on the Sino-Indian War Of 1962 and recently the disputes have flared up again with China moving into the territories and buildng roads:






India sent in soldiers in support of Bhutan and they met chinese:




PRC claims the area is part of Tibet and thus since ancient times part of China:


Q: China refers to the area where the standoff took place as "Doklam". Some reports say that Doklam is part of the territorial disputes between China and Bhutan. Can you make clarification on that?

A: Doklam has been a part of China since ancient times. It does not belong to Bhutan, still less India. That is an indisputable fact supported by historical and jurisprudential evidence, and the ground situation. It is utterly unjustifiable if the Indian side wants to make an issue of it.

China's construction of road in Doklam is an act of sovereignty on its own territory. It is completely justified and lawful, and others have no right to interfere. I would like to stress once again that Bhutan is a world-recognized, independent sovereign state. We hope that all countries can respect Bhutan's sovereignty. Although the boundary between China and Bhutan is yet to be demarcated, the two sides have been working on that through peaceful negotiation. Any third party must not and does not have the right to interfere, still less make irresponsible moves or remarks that violate the fact.


Q: You said that you hope other countries can respect Bhutan's sovereignty. Are you trying to say that India is meddling with China's activities on behalf of Bhutan?

A: We can only tell whether India has interfered in Bhutan's internal affairs based on what India has said and done. As I said, although the boundary between China and Bhutan is yet to be demarcated, the two sides have been communicating over it in a friendly way. If any third party wants to interfere out of its own interests, then it shows no respect for Bhutan's sovereignty. That is what we do not want to see, given that Bhutan is a world-recognized country with full sovereignty.



from: http://www.fmprc.gov.../t1473905.shtml




The Kingdom of Bhutan is not amused:



Press Release

June 29, 2017

In view of the many queries raised recently in the media regarding the Bhutan – China boundary in the Doklam area the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to convey the following:

On 16th June 2017, the Chinese Army started constructing a motorable road from Dokola in the Doklam area towards the Bhutan Army camp at Zompelri. Boundary talks are ongoing between Bhutan and China and we have written agreements of 1988 and 1998 stating that the two sides agree to maintain peace and tranquility in their border areas pending a final settlement on the boundary question, and to maintain status quo on the boundary as before March 1959. The agreements also state that the two sides will refrain from taking unilateral action, or use of force, to change the status quo of the boundary.

Bhutan has conveyed to the Chinese side, both on the ground and through the diplomatic channel, that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the agreements and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between our two countries. Bhutan hopes that the status quo in the Doklam area will be maintained as before 16 June 2017.





Indian press release: http://www.mea.gov.i..._in_Doklam_Area



Recent Developments in Doklam Area

June 30, 2017

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement on 26 June 2017 alleging that Indian border troops crossed the boundary line in the Sikkim sector of the China-India boundary and entered Chinese territory. This has been reiterated since then in other Chinese official briefings.

  • The facts of the matter are as follows:
    i.On 16 June, a PLA construction party entered the Doklam area and attempted to construct a road. It is our understanding that a Royal Bhutan Army patrol attempted to dissuade them from this unilateral activity. The Ambassador of the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGOB) has publicly stated that it lodged a protest with the Chinese Government through their Embassy in New Delhi on 20 June.

    ii.Yesterday, the Foreign Ministry of Bhutan has also issued a statement underlining that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the 1988 and 1998 agreements between Bhutan and China and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between these two countries. They have urged a return to the status quo as before 16 June 2017.

    iii.In keeping with their tradition of maintaining close consultation on matters of mutual interest, RGOB and the Government of India have been in continuous contact through the unfolding of these developments.

    iv.In coordination with the RGOB, Indian personnel, who were present at general area Doka La, approached the Chinese construction party and urged them to desist from changing the status quo. These efforts continue.

    v.The matter has been under discussion between India and China at the diplomatic level in the Foreign Ministries since then, both in New Delhi and Beijing. It was also the subject of a Border Personnel Meeting at Nathu La on 20 June.
  • India is deeply concerned at the recent Chinese actions and has conveyed to the Chinese Government that such construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India.
  • In this context, the Indian side has underlined that the two Governments had in 2012 reached agreement that the tri-junction boundary points between India, China and third countries will be finalized in consultation with the concerned countries. Any attempt, therefore, to unilaterally determine tri-junction points is in violation of this understanding.
  • Where the boundary in the Sikkim sector is concerned, India and China had reached an understanding also in 2012 reconfirming their mutual agreement on the "basis of the alignment”. Further discussions regarding finalization of the boundary have been taking place under the Special Representatives framework.
  • It is essential that all parties concerned display utmost restraint and abide by their respective bilateral understandings not to change the status quo unilaterally. It is also important that the consensus reached between India and China through the Special Representatives process is scrupulously respected by both sides.
  • India has consistently taken a positive approach to the settlement of its own boundary with China, along with the associated issue of the tri-junctions.
  • India cherishes peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas. It has not come easily. Both sides have worked hard to establish institutional framework to discuss all issues to ensure peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas. India is committed to working with China to find peaceful resolution of all issues in the border areas through dialogue.

New Delhi

30 June 2017


Island air field building now in the mountainous Spratleys...

Edited by Panzermann, 17 July 2017 - 1313 PM.

#2 Panzermann


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 1338 PM







High Noon in the Himalayas: Behind the China-India Standoff at Doka La
July 13, 2017

If you’re struggling to make sense of the latest standoff between the Chinese and Indian militaries 10,000 feet in the Himalayas, don’t fret: You’re in good company. The showdown at Doka La is the product of a multi-layered, multi-party dispute steeped in centuries-old treaties and ambiguous territorial claims. Only recently have sufficient details emerged to piece together a coherent picture of the crisis and we’re still left with more questions than answers. However, one thing is clear: While stare-downs at the disputed China-India border are a common affair, the episode now underway is an altogether different, potentially far more dangerous, beast.

This crisis began in mid-June when Chinese forces were spotted constructing a road near the disputed tri-border linking India, China, and Bhutan, prompting an intervention by Indian troops in nearby Sikkim. Nearly a fortnight later, over 100 soldiers from each side are eyeball-to-eyeball, with India moving thousands more into supporting areas. Each passing week has seen a further hardening of each side’s position.

On July 5 China’s ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui, described the situation as “grave” and insisted and there was “no scope for compromise.” A vitriolic outburst from China’s Global Times followed, accosting “Cold War-obsessed India” for “humiliating the civilization of the 21st Century.” It mused:

[T]he face-off in the Donglang area will end up with the Indian troops in retreat. The Indian military can choose to return to its territory with dignity, or be kicked out of the area by Chinese soldiers…India will suffer greater losses than in 1962 if it incites military conflicts. We hope India can face up to the hazards of its unruly actions to the country’s fundamental interests and withdraw its troops without delay… The more unified the Chinese people are, the more sufficient conditions the professionals will have to fight against India and safeguard our interest. This time, we must teach New Delhi a bitter lesson.

India’s Ministry of External affairs has been less strident but sent a clear signal about the stakes by claiming China’s activities “would represent a significant change of [the] status quo with serious security implications.”

A History of Non-Violent Standoffs

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the China-India border dispute, traveling to secluded locales dotting the Himalayan frontier like Leh, Tawang, and Pangong Lake. I’ve interviewed dozens of diplomats, experts, and military officials from both countries. And I’ve written at length about the subject. A holistic account of the dispute and its arcane origins are beyond the remit of this article (there is an abundance of literature on the subject, including John Garver’s Protracted Contest and my book, Cold Peace) though some points of context are in order.

First, the de-facto border, the Line of Actual Control (LAC), is a magnet for standoffs between Chinese and Indian border patrols. Unlike the turbulent Line of Control with Pakistan in Kashmir, however, an elaborate series of bilateral mechanisms has kept the LAC free of any fatal exchanges for decades. Only once since 1962 has a standoff turned bloody. That’s the good news. But there is also bad news: That fatal exchange, the Nathu La incident of 1967, unfolded near the site of the current crisis.

Second, the peace that has prevailed at the border masks a disconcertingly ambiguous tactical situation along select portions of the LAC. Not only is the roughly 3,500-kilometer border unsettled and un-demarcated, there are roughly a dozen stretches along the frontier where the two countries cannot even agree on the location of the LAC. These are the source of hundreds of relatively innocent “transgressions” by Chinese border patrols annually. (China doesn’t publicly track Indian transgressions). On occasion, these devolve into more serious “intrusions,” as witnessed in 2013 and 2014 when the People’s Liberation Army spent several weeks camped across the LAC in the Western Sector.

Third, there are several reasons the current episode differs materially from these common transgressions and even the more serious intrusions. It’s distinguished by the location of the standoff, the conduct of the two sides, and the public messaging from both capitals.


This Time is Different

Whereas the vast majority of incidents at the LAC occur in the disputed western and eastern sectors at Askai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, the current standoff is not even technically a product of the Sino-Indian border dispute, but is rather related to the Sino-Bhutan border dispute. Nevertheless, India has become intimately embroiled by virtue of its special relationship with Bhutan and the geographic proximity of the standoff to its vulnerable “Chicken’s Neck” – the narrow stretch of territory connecting the majority of India to its more remote northeast. For all practical purposes, the standoff has become an extension of the China-India border dispute.

Beijing’s public messaging was the second indication this standoff differed from its predecessors. Whereas the Indian media covers each border skirmish with hyperactive zeal, China often avoids public commentary altogether. When it does comment, Beijing’s messaging is generally bland and de-escalatory, noting the ambiguous nature of the LAC and appealing for patience and dialogue. Not this time.

China’s Foreign Ministry has called the standoff “essentially different from the previous border frictions…in undefined areas.” Unlike previous stare-downs along the LAC, Beijing says this dispute is unfolding on Chinese territory, on which India has “illegally trespassed.” What’s more, China has refused to negotiate a resolution until its “pre-conditions” are met: namely, a complete withdrawal of Indian forces. On July 11, the popular CGTN talk show “Dialogue with Yang Rui” featured Chinese analysts urging Beijing to escalate the situation. The recommended that China begin using the term “invasion” to describe India’s activities at the tri-border and issue Delhi an ultimatum to either depart the area or be evicted. They stated that China should modify its position on the Kashmir dispute and encourage Bhutan to hold a referendum on whether it wants to be an Indian “puppet state.”

Finally, China has matched its rhetoric with retributive action by canceling an upcoming pilgrimage to Tibet and deactivating a historic border crossing near the site of the standoff. Closed since the 1962 war, the Nathu La crossing was re-opened only in 2015 as a confidence-building measure. Beijing insists its fate “totally depends on whether the Indian side can correct its mistake in time.”

He Said, Xi Said

So, what really happened? Following an uptick in Chinese activity in the region, on June 16 a Chinese military construction team was spotted building a road near Doka La, several miles south of Batang La, where India and Bhutan place the border, but several miles north of Gamochen, where Beijing places the tri-border.

According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, “a Royal Bhutan Army patrol attempted to dissuade them from this unilateral activity.” When that failed, Indian military personnel from neighboring Sikkim intervened some 48 hours later. In “close coordination” with Bhutan, they then “approached the Chinese construction party and urged them to desist from changing the status quo.”


China’s Foreign Ministry corroborates this account but argues the standoff “is located on the Chinese side of the boundary and belongs to China.” Beijing insists the tri-border junction was fixed at Gamochen through an 1890 convention signed by the British Raj and the Qing dynasty. It claims India’s intervention is “a betrayal of [the] consistent position” held by Delhi since Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Delhi has indeed affirmed the validity of the treaty in the past but maintains that in 2012 the two agreed the tri-border was unsettled and would be resolved through consultations with all three parties. Any attempt to “unilaterally determine tri-junction points is in violation of this understanding.”

Second, as former National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon notes, China’s claim is likely based on flawed colonial mapmaking: The watershed principle Beijing uses as justification for the tri-border actually favors Batang La – Bhutan’s and India’s position – over Gamochen. Third, Bhutan was not a party to the 1890 convention and, on June 29, told China its border activities violated two agreements signed in 1988 and 1998 committing both sides to abstain from any unilateral actions that would alter the status quo.

High Peaks, High Stakes, and the Border

Unsurprisingly, there is more at stake in the Doka La standoff than a few dozen square miles of desolate Himalayan frontier. There are grander geopolitical dynamics and ambitions driving the dispute related to the balance of power at the LAC, the broader Sino-Indian rivalry, a struggle for Bhutan’s loyalties, and the strategic vulnerability of India’s “Chicken’s Neck.”

For several years Beijing has been floating a proposal to freeze the operational status quo at the Sino-Indian border — an idea Delhi has flatly rejected. Buttressed by superior infrastructure and more favorable geography, China enjoys a substantial tactical advantage along the LAC — though Iskander Rehman persuasively argues the gap may not be as formidable as is commonly portrayed.

In the decades following the Sino-Indian war India pursed a strategy of deliberate neglect toward its border areas, convinced a scarcity of infrastructure would hamper any invasion force from the north. In the late 2000s, Delhi acknowledged the futility of that strategy and ordered massive border infrastructure upgrades that received additional support from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For the time being, Delhi appears unwilling to enshrine its tactical disadvantage at the LAC and it’s plausible Beijing is using the border tactics to pressure India to the negotiating table on a “freeze-of-forces.”

Some analysts have speculated that China’s border incursions are the product of rogue actors in the PLA, a theory rejected by most seasoned China analysts. One senior Indian diplomat formerly responsible for high-level negotiations with China recently explained to me that the PLA’s border activities were unquestionably orchestrated from Beijing. They are designed to embarrass India’s leadership, he suggested, and to show the Indian public and the world that China can operate at the border with impunity while underscoring Modi’s inability to secure India’s sovereign borders.

China has indeed built a lengthy resume of launching border incursions at politically sensitive junctures. A two-week Chinese incursion into Ladakh in 2014 overlapped with President Xi Jinping’s inaugural visit to Delhi, spoiling bilateral atmospherics at the outset of the Modi-Xi era. Perhaps it’s no coincidence the world learned of the Doka La standoff just as Prime Minister Modi was in Washington meeting with President Donald Trump.

The Rivalry

The Xi-Modi era has witnessed an intensification of the Sino-Indian rivalry, particularly since Modi’s frustration with Beijing seemed to reach critical mass in 2016. After an unsuccessful attempt to forge a strong personal relationship with Xi, Modi balked at China’s efforts to block India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers group and shield Pakistan-based terrorists from U.N. sanctions last year.

Since then, Indian policy toward Beijing has assumed sharper, more confident edges. It is possible Beijing is signaling its displeasure with any number recent Indian initiatives, including Delhi’s decision to boycott Beijing’s highly-touted “Belt and Road” summit in May, allow the Dalai Lama and the U.S. ambassador to visit Chinese-claimed Arunachal Pradesh, and vocally support an arbitration that ruled decisively against Beijing’s maritime claims in the South China Sea. Since the standoff began, Indian firms have renewed an oil exploration contract with Vietnam in waters disputed by China and the Indian press has highlighted a trip to the LAC in Ladakh by the prime minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. India’s hosting of the Dalai Lama and these Tibetan leaders in Dharamsala has been a major source of contention with Beijing for decades.

Yet perhaps no issue has generated more friction in recent years than China’s creeping inroads into both the Indian Ocean and the subcontinent. Since 2005 smaller neighbors like Nepal and Sri Lanka have substantially expanded their relationships with China, heralding the appearance of Chinese submarines in Colombo and crackdown on Tibetan refugees in Nepal. In capitals across the region China and India have been waging a shadowy but intensifying struggle for the loyalties of local political and economic elites. It is possible China sees an opportunity for a breakthrough in India’s last subcontinental stronghold, Bhutan.

The Neighbor

The tiny Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan served as a virtual Indian protectorate after Delhi assumed control of the country’s foreign and security policies in a 1949 treaty. The “Friendship Treaty” was revised in 2007 to accord the Bhutanese nominally more control over their foreign affairs but maintained the two sides would “cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests.”  India still accounts for all of Bhutan’s defense trade as well as 75 percent of its imports and 85 percent of its exports. Remarkably, Bhutan receives over two-thirds of all Indian foreign aid.

By contrast, Bhutan remains the only Chinese neighbor yet to establish formal diplomatic relations with Beijing. Together with India, it’s also one of the only countries to host an outstanding land border dispute with China. Beijing claims several hundred square kilometers in Jarkarlung and Pasamlung in north-central Bhutan, and several hundred more at the Doklam plateau along Bhutan’s western border with Tibet, the site of the current crisis.

Sino-Bhutan border negotiations began in 1984, with India initially negotiating on Bhutan’s behalf before withdrawing to a supervisory role. In the mid-1990s, China offered Bhutan a “package deal” whereby it would renounce its claims in the north in exchange for control of the Doklam plateau. Bhutan demurred, not least due to India’s fierce opposition.

Like many Indian analysts, Abhijnan Rej believes “one of the key Chinese objectives in initiating the Doklam standoff seems to be testing India’s resolve to stand by Bhutan.” Beijing’s public diplomacy lends some credence to the view that it’s trying to drive a wedge between the two countries. China’s first public comment on the Doka La standoff claimed Bhutan was unaware Indian troops had entered the Doklam plateau and accused India of wanting “to infringe on Bhutan’s sovereignty.”

On July 9, The People’s Daily doubled-down, insisting India had “affected Bhutan’s independence by intruding into Chinese territory and using Bhutan as an excuse.” Bhutan’s media, it said, “have long been criticizing India’s interference in its domestic affairs. Their infuriation should be understood.”

While a border incursion would appear an unusual negotiating tactic, it tracks with the peculiar mix of carrots and sticks China has employed in an attempt to simultaneously wean Bhutan away from India while pressuring it to cede the Doklam plateau and establish formal diplomatic relations. “When stakes are high, Beijing has shown no hesitation in mounting military pressure along the border,” says Bhutanese analyst Talik Jha, who describes China’s strategy as one of “military intimidation followed by diplomatic seduction.”

Meanwhile, the tug-of-war for Bhutan’s loyalties has been intensifying in recent years, albeit gradually. An international conference in Rio in 2012 witnessed an impromptu, first-ever meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries, raising hackles in Delhi. Shortly thereafter Bhutan imported 15 buses from China. Ahead of a national election in Bhutan the following year, India suspended fuel subsidies to its eastern neighbor. The vote produced a more emphatically Indophile government and an apology from Delhi over the “unfortunate technical lapse” in the provision of subsidies.

While Bhutan’s outreach to China has cooled since, border talks and surveys have continued. The People’s Daily claims India’s involvement in the Doka La standoff is a product of its concern over advancing China-Bhutan negotiations.

The Chicken’s Neck

Delhi has kept a close watch and tight grip on the Sino-Bhutan border negotiations for the same reason it joined the fray at Doka La: Chinese control over the Doklam plateau would represent a grave strategic threat. The Chinese-controlled Chumbi valley bisecting Sikkim and Bhutan cuts toward the Siliguri Corridor, a narrow, strategically-vulnerable strip of territory connecting the main mass of the Indian subcontinent to its more remote northeastern provinces.

A Chinese offensive into this “Chicken’s Neck” could sever India’s connection to the northeast, where China still claims up to 90,000 square kilometers in Arunachal Pradesh. China’s Global Times seemed to acknowledge as much, and further stoke Indian anxieties by arguing “northeast India might take the opportunity to become independent” if Delhi’s fears were realized and China launched an operation to “quickly separate mainland India from the northeast.”

The topography of the region further elevates the strategic value of the Doklam plateau, and helps to explain how India bloodied China’s nose during the nearby skirmish at Nathu La in 1967. Whereas China holds a tactical advantage along the vast majority of the LAC, the Chumbi Valley is arguably the only position along the de facto border where China’s position is deeply compromised. As Indian analyst Nitin Gokhale observes:

Chinese forces in the narrow Chumbi Valley are currently in the line of sight and fire of Indian forces poised on the ridges along the Sikkim-Tibet border. Aware of this vulnerability, the Chinese have been eyeing the Doklam plateau since any troops stationed there will be away from visible observation and beyond artillery range of Indian forces either based in North or north-east Sikkim.

In other words, control over the Doklam plateau constitutes a “win-win” for the PLA; both a knife to India’s jugular and shield to blunt its sharpest spear. With existential stakes for Delhi, and Beijing posturing growing more uncompromising by the day, there’s no end in sight to the longest standoff at the China-India border in over three decades.


Jeff M. Smith is the Director of Asian Security Programs at the American Foreign Policy Council and author of Cold Peace: China-India Rivalry in the 21st Century.



from https://warontherock...off-at-doka-la/

#3 Josh



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Posted 17 July 2017 - 1338 PM

What motivates the timing for this conflict? One Road one Belt? I feel like the Chinese are just going out of their way to make all of their neighbors nervous when if they were less aggressive they could strip a few countries out of America's influence.

#4 Panzermann


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 1352 PM

Good question. I guess they feel stronger now with their successes in the Spratleys and stretch their boundaries.
An indian take on the border disputes:

Did Nehru really accept the Sino-British Treaty as final word on the border issue?
 A S Nazir Ahamed
July 04, 2017 17:36 IST
Updated: July 05, 2017 14:52 IST

The current round of tensions was triggered by China's bid to construct a road in the Doklam area, which falls in the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan.
The ongoing standoff at the Sikkim sector of the India-China border between troops of the two countries has brought the Sino-British Treaty, 1890 into focus.
Heres what the treaty is all about and why China is raking it up now.
Officially called the Convention Between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet, the treaty was signed in Calcutta on March 17, 1890. The Convention, according to Beijing, settles the border between the two regions. But India maintains that the borders in Doklam, the area in question, are yet to be settled.
Article I of the Convention talks about the boundary of Sikkim and Tibet in physical detail. The boundary of Sikkim and Tibet shall be the crest of the mountain range separating the waters flowing into the Sikkim Teesta and its affluents from the waters flowing into the Tibetan Mochu and northwards into other rivers of Tibet. The line commences at Mount Gipmochi, on the Bhutan frontier, and follows the above-mentioned water-parting to the point where it meets Nepal territory, the Article states.
The standoff
The current round of tensions was triggered by the China's bid to construct a road in the Doklam area, which falls in the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan. New Delhi says that a road there will threaten its national security.
Analysts say that if built, the road will provide China further access to the Chumbi Valley, adding to the vulnerability of the Chickens Neck, a narrow corridor that links the Northeast with the rest of India.

map: http://www.thehindu....ia Bhutan China

  What is Indias stand?
India has expressed deep concern at the Chinese actionsat the Doko La (Doklam) tri-junction. Conveyed to the Chinese Government that such construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India, said a government statement on June 30, 2017 in its first reaction since the tensions at the tri-junction were made public a week earlier. The war of words also saw Chinese anger towards Bhutan.
What is Beijings stand?
China stresses that the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary was defined by the 1890 treaty. China has accused India of betrayal of the treaty, a colonial era understanding of the boundary alignment relating to Tibet and Sikkim. Beijing, on July 3, 2017, cited lettersbetween Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Zhou Enlai that had explicitly recognised many times that the (1890) Convention has defined the boundary between Xi Zang (Tibet) of China and Sikkim.
According to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, in his letters to Zhou on March 22, 1959 and again on September 26, 1959, Nehru acknowledged that the boundary between Sikkim and Tibet was defined by the 1890 Convention and demarcated by the two sides on the ground in 1895 and that theres no dispute over the boundary between Sikkim and Xi Zang, China.
Current actions by the Indian side undoubtedly run counter to the Indian government's longstanding position, the spokesperson said.
What did Nehru say in the letter?
Nehrus September 26, 1959 letter to Zhou, cited by China, was a point-by-point refutation of the claims made by the latter on September 8, 1959. Contrary to the claim that the letter was an overwhelming endorsement of the 1890 treaty on the Sikkim-Tibet border, Nehru takes objection to Zhous statement that the boundaries of Sikkim and Bhutan did not fall within the scope of the discussion. Nehru explicitly states in the letter that the 1890 treaty defined only the northern part of the Sikkim-Tibet border and not the tri-junction area that brings Bhutan into play. Indias first Prime Minister goes on to state that rectification of errors in Chinese maps regarding the boundary of Bhutan with Tibet is therefore a matter which has to be discussed along with the boundary of India with the Tibet region of China in the same sector.
Then only Nehru makes the statement that China now latches on to, out of context. He says: This Convention of 1890 also defined the boundary between Sikkim and Tibet; and the boundary was later, in 1895, demarcated. There is thus no dispute regarding the boundary of Sikkim with the Tibet region.
Nehru concludes his letter with regret and shock while invoking the 1954 Panchsheel Agreement. India was one of the first countries to extend recognition to the People's Republic of China and for the last ten years we have consistently sought to maintain and strengthen our friendship with your country. When our two countries signed the 1954 Agreement in regard to the Tibet region I hoped that the main problems which history had bequeathed to us in the relations between India and China had been peacefully and finally settled, he states.
Click here to read Jawaharlal Nehrus letter to Chou En-Lai
Why is China angry with Bhutan?
In the current standoff, Bhutan has rebuffed Chinaby refuting the latters contention that it (China) was constructing a road at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction in an indisputable part of Chinese territory. Thimphu had said it had conveyed to the Chinese government that this was not the case.
According to an explanation published in The Hindu on Why Bhutan is special to India, Under the 2007 India-Bhutan Friendship Treaty, the two sides have agreed to cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither Government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other.
Under a previous treaty, India was to guide Bhutan on foreign and defence policies. The language of the 2007 treaty is meant to respect the sensitivities of Bhutan regarding its sovereignty. But the reality is that the Indian military is virtually responsible for protecting Bhutan from the kind of external threat that the Chinese military poses.


#5 Panzermann


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 1357 PM



India will suffer worse losses than 1962 if it incites border clash
Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/4 23:53:39
The face-off between Chinese and Indian troops in the Sikkim section of the Sino-Indian border seems to be escalating. The Indian military was quoted by Indian media as saying that more troops have been deployed there in a non-combative mode. Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley claimed that the India of 2017 is different from the India of 1962. Chief of Staff of the Indian Army, General Bipin Rawat, even said they are fully ready for a two-and-a-half front war - referring to China, Pakistan and internal security requirements.

Indian troops have trespassed over the China-Sikkim border, which is viewed as having already been demarcated, and is not a line of actual control. The Indian side has changed arguments several times, first claiming that "China intruded onto Indian territory," but later saying "there was no incursion into our territory," followed by the new excuse that India is helping Bhutan safeguard its territory. India is acting shamelessly before the international community.

New Delhi's real purpose is to turn the Donglang area of China into a disputed region and block China's road construction there. The Cold War-obsessed India is suspicious that China is building the road to cut off the Siliguri Corridor, an area held by Indians as strategically important for India to control its turbulent northeast area. India is taking the risk to betray the historical agreement and wants to force China to swallow the result.

India should look in the mirror. It was not able to refute the evidence of illegal border-trespassing and coerced its small neighbor Bhutan to shoulder the blame. India has long treated Bhutan as a vassal state, a rare scene under modern international relations. India's illegal border intrusion is not allowed by international law; besides its suppression of Bhutan must be condemned by the international community. The Indian media claimed in recent days that New Delhi "shouldn't abandon Bhutan." India is humiliating the civilization of the 21st Century.

The Chinese public is infuriated by India's provocation. We believe the Chinese People's Liberation Army is powerful enough to expel Indian troops out of Chinese territory.

We firmly believe that the face-off in the Donglang area will end up with the Indian troops in retreat. The Indian military can choose to return to its territory with dignity, or be kicked out of the area by Chinese soldiers.

If New Delhi believes that its military might can be used as leverage in the Donglang area, and it's ready for a two-and-a-half front war, we have to tell India that the Chinese look down on their military power. Jaitley is right that the India of 2017 is different from that of 1962 - India will suffer greater losses than in 1962 if it incites military conflicts.

China attaches great importance to domestic stability and doesn't want to be mired in a mess with India. But New Delhi would be too naïve to think that Beijing would make concessions to its unruly demands.

Instead of taking immediate action, China still wants to address disputes by peaceful means, a practice that has been maintained for decades, and it is unwilling to face a pattern of confrontation in the border area. But a peaceful solution must lead to legitimate and justified outcomes. We hope India can face up to the hazards of its unruly actions to the country's fundamental interests and withdraw its troops without delay.

We need to give diplomatic and military authorities full power to handle the issue. We call on Chinese society to maintain high-level unity on the issue. The more unified the Chinese people are, the more sufficient conditions the professionals will have to fight against India and safeguard our interests. This time, we must teach New Delhi a bitter lesson.
Posted in: EDITORIAL


chinese media have also run reprints of old photos from the 62 war and old newspapers frontpages
india's minister of defense says http://www.ndtv.com/...962-war-1719900
chief of staff boasts India can wage a two-and-a-half fronts war: http://www.aninews.i...army-chief.html

Edited by Panzermann, 17 July 2017 - 1359 PM.

#6 chino



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Posted 19 July 2017 - 1051 AM

Good treatment of prisoners in times of war and their swift repatriation after hostilities is very important for the uneasy peace that will come afterwards.

An Indian friend's father was an officer captured during the '62 war. His dad said the PLA treated the Indian POWs well.

I have seen a few videos of other such "border disputes" between Indian and PLA troops where both sides are unarmed and not even wearing their web gear. Still this one is the most worrying with both sides physically pushing each other. How long before they come to blows, and then actual shooting?

The poison in the relationship will always be China's support of Pakistan, and vice versa India's support of China's enemies like Vietnam and Tibet independence movements. If the two countries do not share borders they could be friends.

#7 Panzermann


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Posted 19 July 2017 - 1136 AM

AFAIK India and China have agrreed to keep weapons away from their shared borders so as not to risk another war. Very reasonable move to defuse the situation back then I think. So the maximum is giving each other the evil eye at the moment.
A different take by a former indian diplomat:

Indian military standoff with China was all about Bhutan

China did not intrude on India; tensions seem part of the 'great game' over Bhutan amid deep Indian disquiet about Beijing's dealings with Thimphu
By M.K. Bhadrakumar July 17, 2017 5:17 PM (UTC+8)
A ‘consensus’ was reached at a meeting in New Delhi over the weekend between the government and leaders of India’s opposition parties that the five-week long military standoff with China in the Sikkim region should be resolved peacefully.
The headlines have begun moving away from the topic as if an unseen hand is guiding. The standoff could be inching its way toward denouement.

‘De-escalation’ is the new mantra. The good part is that the clamor for war with China by hotheads in India does not reflect the official thinking (anymore)

China probably widening road in Doklam
Meanwhile, there is much greater clarity about what really happened on the ground.
First, contrary to what India media claimed, there has been no Chinese ‘intrusion’ on to India’s sacred soil. On the contrary, Indian military moved into Doklam on the China-Bhutan border, which has been under Chinese control all along.
Second, reports projected that a standoff ensued as China started building a road in Doklam. But there is evidence now that a road was already in existence for over a decade at least and China was probably widening it.
Third, India claimed that its intervention was at the request of Bhutan. China disputed the claim. Significantly, after a visit to Thimphu by the spouse of the Chinese ambassador in Delhi and her meeting with the Bhutanese king last week, Beijing maintains that Bhutan did not seek Indian military intervention.
Fourth, and most importantly, China maintains that it is within its sovereign right to build roads in an area under its control. Whereas, Indian reports sensed a ‘mission creep’ with a hidden Chinese agenda to eventually threaten the Siliguri corridor, a hundred kilometers to the south, which connects India’s restive northeast with the hinterland.
Illustration: iStock.

However, this ‘threat perception’ appears to be based on an exaggerated notion since the Chumbi Valley in Tibet which leads toward the Indian border itself is a narrow corridor flanked by steep mountains, which India dominates. A former Indian corps commander Lt Gen KJ Singh put it this way:
‘‘Treacherous mountainous jungle terrain and (a) total absence of connectivity limits application of force levels and will reduce it to a slogging crawl. (Any) such offensives need logistic sustenance, (as the) narrow Chumbi valley, dominated on both flanks, with limited deployment spaces and acclimatization challenges is a virtual death trap. While granting credit to (the) Chinese for favorable force ratios, its actual efficacy has to be discounted as force multipliers have severe limitation in application due to weather and terrain.’’
All things taken into account, therefore, the current standoff is not so much about territory as the ‘great game’ over Bhutan.
India has been treating Bhutan as its ‘protectorate’ ever since Great Britain left the subcontinent in 1947. But lately, through the past decade or so, China started nibbling away at Indian influence by working on fault lines that had begun appearing in India-Bhutan relations over time.
India harbors a deep sense of disquiet about China’s direct dealings with Bhutan, especially on border disputes. By the military intervention in Doklam, India has inserted itself as the proverbial elephant in the room. This is one thing.

‘High-stakes’ election in Bhutan next year
Interestingly, the current standoff is playing out in the run-up to a crucial parliamentary election in Bhutan, which is due in mid-2018.
The forthcoming election will be a high stakes affair for New Delhi, which is keen that the present ‘pro-India’ Bhutanese prime minister Tshering Tobgay secures a renewed mandate. (He deposed his ‘pro-China’ predecessor Jigme Thinley in the 2013 election with some Indian manipulation from the back stage.)
To be sure, a calibrated brinkmanship seems to characterize the current standoff – in both Indian and Chinese behavior. Bhutan says nothing much.
Bhutan must be aware of the great game by its two giant neighbors over its strategic autonomy. Sadly, it is caught up in a debt trap. According to the International Monetary Fund, Bhutan’s government debt now stands at 118% of GDP, with India by far the largest creditor, accounting for 64% of Bhutan’s total debt.  Of course, much of India’s ‘aid’ effectively promoted project exports to Bhutan by Indian companies.
As a former Indian ambassador and top expert on Himalayan affairs, P Stobdan wrote last week, India’s “colonial-style approach of buying loyalty through economic aid” may not work anymore. Do not be surprised if Bhutan views China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ as the salvation – following Nepal’s footfalls.
If so, it must be the mother of all ironies because India is waging a relentless whispering campaign against the Belt and Road, warning that it leads to ‘debt trap’.
Bhutanese nationalism and resentment of Indian ‘hegemony’, is, no doubt, a strong undercurrent, and Delhi cannot ignore it much longer.
Intervention in neighboring countries to browbeat them is a grotesque foreign-policy legacy left behind by decades of successive Congress Party governments in India. It is an archaic mindset.
On Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought in refreshingly new thinking to India’s policy and a tumultuous relationship (which tragically took the life of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi) steadied almost overnight.
A similar imaginative approach is needed vis-à-vis Bhutan.


#8 chino



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Posted 21 July 2017 - 1749 PM

Two of my closest friends - Singaporeans, one Malay the other Chinese - made several trip to Nepal during the 90's. I joined them on one such trip. We loved Nepal as the people we met there were some of the most welcoming and sincere people we've ever met. And we have traveled rather extensively. We split up in Nepal for a week when they traveled by rail to Sikkim.


They did not find the same welcome on the Indian side of the border.


In Nepal we lived in a guesthouse owned by an Indian businessman. Suffice to say, Indians in general treat the Nepalese as less than second class.


We already saw the "great game" being played out in Nepal at that time. Chinese engineers were helping to build / improve roads in mountainous Nepal. Roads are generally treacherous in Nepal: On the way to Pokhara we saw to our horror the debris left on the road by a bus that hours before had tumbled down the mountain side.


The Communist party in Nepal had drawn their sickle and hammer symbols here and there in Kathmandu and the Tibetans there that we spoke with especially feared anything related communist since they left home because of China's occupation.


But ironically, China did not support the Nepali "Maoist" insurgency. In fact it supported the Nepali government against the Maoist. And then oddly enough, after the Maoist won elections and took over the government, they strengthened their ties with China. Complicated.

#9 Panzermann


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Posted 24 July 2017 - 1025 AM

Interesting insights. thank you.

But ironically, China did not support the Nepali "Maoist" insurgency. In fact it supported the Nepali government against the Maoist. And then oddly enough, after the Maoist won elections and took over the government, they strengthened their ties with China. Complicated.

I think it has to do with Beijing seeing Nepal as a buffer state against India mostly. To that end a stable rulership there is preferable. and Chinas politics have shifted towards a long game approach. Sooner or later the monarchy in this tiny mountain kingdomwas going to fall and there was nothing immediately nececssary there for Beijing to fetch. Unlike the uranium in Tibet.

#10 Josh



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Posted 21 August 2017 - 0930 AM

Regarding the scuffle bewteen Chinese and Indian troops: Is true that both parties weren't armed? In which case, is that normal policy in that region? It seems to me had either side been armed it could have turned into a fire fight pretty easily.

Does anyone else know more about Indian/Chinese ROE on the LoAC?

#11 JasonJ



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Posted 21 August 2017 - 0935 AM

Not very informative and not exactly asked for but an Indian CG politics cartoon. Basically making fun of how China has been giving a lot of threat statements to India to leave the area in the past number of weeks but only threat statements in the end with no action.

#12 nemo



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Posted 21 August 2017 - 1929 PM

Not very informative and not exactly asked for but an Indian CG politics cartoon. Basically making fun of how China has been giving a lot of threat statements to India to leave the area in the past number of weeks but only threat statements in the end with no action.

If you know history, that really should give you pause instead of ridicule. China does not make a lot of threat, but when it does, you should take it seriously.  US ignored China to it's cost in Korea, and learned not to do that in Vietnam. India ignored China in 1962 to it's cost. Vietnam is also warned in 79, and the war actually lasted until late 80s -- and Vietnam sued for peace. In 1962 and 1979, certain phrases are used in unattributed editorials in People's Daily, China's newspaper or record. In both cases, "our patience is limited" were used for next to last warning. This phrase was used by Chinese spokesperson in briefing to foreign diplomats when this situation broke.


Chinese reaction to this should give you pause as well. Chinese usually don't make a big deal when India trespass the Line of Control, but China did in this case because this is the only settled border between India and China.  Of course China is pissed. Also note China didn't start shooting until India set up outpost north of McMahon line in 1962 war, the maximum of Indian claim.  While China could and did sign away claims and borders by negotiation and treaty, unilateral change of border is something that it will not accept -- not at least because it threaten the legitimacy of the regime. In democracy, one administration screws up, the next one is elected while the legitimacy of the government stays intact. It's different for non-elective government -- lost of legitimacy is fatal.  So China has incentive and casus belli for a war.  I am still scratching my head why Indians think otherwise.

Edited by nemo, 21 August 2017 - 1930 PM.

#13 Josh



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Posted 21 August 2017 - 2215 PM

The only thing I can think of is that the Indians think China won't go that far because they could potentially expand the war to the IO if they were losing. Though I don't see China letting them get away with that for long either. India is pretty much on a nationalistic tear as much as China has recently, but the 19th party congress isn't when I'd try to rock their boat..

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