The stakes for India are naturally high, and something similar to the June events should not happen again.
It is a positive development that India’s Army formations that had scaled up when the Doklam crisis loomed in mid-June, and held ground for 73 days facing the Chinese Army just about 100 metres away, have been ordered back to peacetime locations in the area. Apparently the expectation is that the Chinese forces will also respond in an equivalent manner. If there is a basis to this expectation, it would appear both countries have been diplomatically active with the aim of resolving boundary-related disputes and confusions through conversations, and without taking any unilateral steps.
The Doklam problem, which brought in the Indian Army, relates to an area disputed between Bhutan and China where Chinese forces unilaterally decided to convert a mud track into a motorable road, the southern end of which would make India’s Siliguri corridor (Chicken’s Neck) vulnerable to Chinese heavy artillery, and in a worst-case scenario would cut India’s Northeast off from the rest of the country.
The stakes for India are naturally high, and something similar to the June events should not happen again. Beijing must be reminded that, under a protocol signed with New Delhi, Bhutan will have to be involved in any negotiations to resolve the Doklam question, and no unilateralism should be harboured.
Recently, China made a reference to a late-19th century British-era agreement that governs the Sikkim sector. On this India and China are agreed. To this, Beijing must add the protocol that brings in the “third party”, namely Bhutan, into the picture. Our diplomacy must draw attention to this, keeping Thimphu in the loop.