Assessments

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. 

(MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images)

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...

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