India China Border, Why Modi Govt Needs Political Consensus to Resolve Sikkim Standoff

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The ongoing standoff between India and China in Sikkim differs from those recently in conditions of its period, proper implications, and the view of escalation – factors that may have promoted the NDA government to convene the all-party meeting on Friday evening. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance government will discuss with the political parties about the event and make an effort to evolve a political consensus through the meeting.

There is entirely no resolution around the corner to the boundary standoff in Doklam that is in its fourth week. The very last two – Depsang in Ladakh region in 2013 and Chumar in 2014 – were sorted out through discussions in three weeks. This time around, it includes the India-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction in the Sikkim sector, which continued to be more often than not incident – free since 2013. The Depsang event happened before Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s trip to India in May 2013. The Army of China had pitched tents inside the Indian boundary, resulting in a military and diplomatic standoff. On the other hand, the Indian Army did the same as well. However, the two sides withdrew their soldiers and restored the position quo after discussions. The Chumar event on the boundary in southern Ladakh agreed with Chinese president Xi Jinping’s trip to India in Sep 2014.

However, this region has a brief history of Chinese incursions, the actual fact that this agreed to the visit of Xi, who was simply accorded a general public reception in Gujarat, PM Narendra Modi’s home state, didn’t go well with the India. But two sides activated stations of communication and it was settled in 16 days. Another small incursion in Chumar occurred in December previous year, but it was resolved at the neighborhood level. This time the boundary standoff differs in its aspect. A construction unit of the Chinese army started creating a road near a Bhutan military post in Zompelri on June 16. However, Bhutan protested the move. For India, this activity amounts to China attempting to improve the position quo of India, Bhutan, and Tibet tri-junction. That will go against a knowledge attained by both parties in 2012, which requires discussion with Bhutan when there is any try to change the position quo at the tri-junction.

The road building is also against the 1993 pact on keeping peace and harmony across the border between the two nations. All of this has resulted in an uncommon situation of India-China standoff in the Bhutanese territory. India and Bhutan have a bilateral understanding on issues related to defense and international policy. What sort of standoff carries on and Chinese unwillingness to check the most common practice of both sides support off, either before a discussion, or following the discussions, to revive status quo over the border aren’t common. The rhetoric is too strangely shrill from Beijing. Both countries have been facing a slip in ties lately, on issues which range from India’s entrance for Nuclear Suppliers Group to Pakistan-China economic corridor.  But the greater challenge is where to find mechanisms to control the relationship.

The Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said on Tuesday that India and China were a “factor of stability”. He also said that the most notable leadership of both nations had agreed never to allow variations to be disputed. But their economic rise, competition for global resources, and clout are established to generate more problems in their relationship. Also, both the countries are led by staunch nationalist leaders at present. Handling the problems in today’s and future would demand means supported by greater political agreement.

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