(TibetanReview.net, Jul21, 2017) – In the continuing war of words in their prolonged standoff over the strategic site of Doklam in common neighbour Bhutan, China has given indications of being in full preparation for an all-out war while India has dismissed this and accompanying Chinese media hype about it as nothing more than exertion of psychological pressure.
There has been no major troop mobilization by China towards the Line of Actual Control in the entire stretch from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, nor have recent military exercises conducted by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Tibet raised “any red flags” in the Indian security establishment till now, timesofindia.com Jul 20 cited official Indian sources as saying.
This was after China’s official media said its PLA had moved tens of thousands of tonnes of military vehicles and equipment into northern Tibet late last month and could reach them closer to the Sikkim border in occupied Tibet within six to seven hours, with the distance involved being just 700 km. However, despite this development, the PLA has “not made any disquieting troop movement” south of Tsangpo in Tibet till now, the report cited Indian sources as saying.
As regards China’s much touted military exercise held recently in Tibet, India says there is nothing “unusual” about it. “It was a routine annual exercise that took place near Lhasa in early-June, around 700-km from the border. All armies conduct exercises at frequent intervals. The PLA has been conducting such exercises in Tibet since 2009,” the report quoted a source as saying.
On Jul 19, China’s official Xinhua news agency cited Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang as saying some foreign diplomats based in China had said the Doklam incident was “shocking” and “difficult to understand,” and had sought verification from China.
On the other hand, India’s Foreign Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj, told the country’s parliament Jul 20 that other countries backed New Delhi in its standoff with China, reported the NDTV.com Jul 20.
The report cited Indian sources as having confirmed that foreign embassies in Delhi had expressed concern about the simmering tension and had been reassured of Delhi’s commitment to finding a peaceful solution.
Explaining what the standoff is about, Swaraj has said, “As long as it was between China and Bhutan, we had nothing to do with it. But since this deals with the tri-junction point it affects our security position,” referring to the geography of the dispute at the tri-junction of India, Tibet and Bhutan.
The report said India had warned China that the road would be seen as a serious security issue because it gives Beijing access to the so-called Chicken’s Neck, a narrow piece of land linking mainland India with its seven north-eastern states.
China calls the road-building a poor excuse by India to enter a territory that does not belong to it.