Heading Off China at Doka La Pass

Jul 28, 2017 | 15:41 GMT

Indian demonstrators gather near the Chinese Embassy in India's capital to protest China's activities in Bhutan.

While New Delhi has called for both sides to stand down in Bhutan, Beijing has reiterated that India must withdraw its troops from the Doklam Plateau before negotiations on China's road project in the area can begin. 


Forecast Highlights

  • India will back down from its standoff with China only if Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has room to portray the resolution as a diplomatic victory to his political constituents back home.
  • New Delhi won't have the means, however, to alter China's strategy in its periphery, even if it can temporarily halt construction on Beijing's road project in Bhutan.
  • To defend against China's encroachment, New Delhi will bolster its defensive and infrastructure capacity along its northeastern border.

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan serves a strategic function far greater than its small size would suggest. Situated between India and China, the country acts as a buffer separating the two powers. But mounting enmity between New Delhi and Beijing is threatening to breach that barrier. For over a month now, Chinese and Indian troops have been locked in a standoff a few hundred feet apart near the mountain pass of Doka La along India's border with China and Bhutan. The confrontation began June 16 when Indian forces intervened to prevent Chinese soldiers and construction workers from extending a roadway through the area. Bhutan claims Doka La lies within its borders, because the pass is south of its internationally recognized boundary with India and China, known as the trijunction. China, on the other hand, asserts that the trijunction is a few miles south of Doka La at Gymachen and that the...

Keep Reading

Register to read three free articles

Proceed to sign up

Register Now

Already have an account?

Sign In