FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Doklam standoff: Patience and steadfastness are the key to dealing with China
Posted:Jul 13, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
The Indian government effectively offered to engage with China over the Doklam plateau dispute through its foreign secretary’s speech in Singapore. In its initial response, the Chinese foreign ministry signalled it was not interested. Things may yet change, but there are increasing signs that New Delhi and Beijing are hunkering down for a long and protracted standoff. But the continuing cordiality displayed at the highest levels and the fact that the thousands of soldiers involved have not fired a weapon in anger indicates there is no desire for a genuine military confrontation.
 
Such a contest of patience is not unheard of between India and China. The Sumdorong Cho incident along the Arunachal Pradesh border in 1986 saw tens of thousands of soldiers deployed on both sides, lasted militarily for over a year and diplomatically took eight years to resolve. But it paved the way for over a decade of peace along the Sino-Indian border and stabilised bilateral relations as a whole.
The present Doklam standoff is about New Delhi, belatedly, deciding it must put an end to a long-standing Chinese practice of nibbling away at Bhutan’s border. Chinese official anger is presumably because it is surprised at India deciding to stand up for an ally. Beijing cites an 1890 treaty, Thimpu points to agreements of 1988 and 1998, and New Delhi references an understanding of 2012 so the validity of each other’s claims is best left to the lawyers.
 
Ultimately this is about Beijing’s belief that it has arrived as a superpower and India’s view that at least in its immediate neighbourhood it must resist China’s advances. This is not a total mismatch. Pakistan is roughly a fifth the size of India in economic and territorial terms but still gives New Delhi a run for its money.
 
Weiqi is a Chinese board game whose name means “game of encirclement.” Better known in English as go, a player wins by seizing territory and surrounding the enemy. Pieces can be captured, but Weiqi is really about victory through manoeuvre and not direct conflict. Beijing uses Weiqi tactics in its territorial disputes with its neighbours. The idea is to win by making the other side assume resistance is futile rather than by the actual use of violence. 
 
The Narendra Modi government must recognise that its best weapon is patience and steadfastness that is not governed by media concerns or even the election cycle. As previous crises have shown, what defines a loss is a sense, both at home and abroad, that New Delhi sought to find a solution at any cost rather than a solution that sends a message.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Relations between India and Peru  are united by El Niño and the monsoon yet separated by vast distances across oceans.  Jorge Castaneda, Ambassador of Peru to India, talks to INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS exclusively about what is bringing the two geographically-apart countries closer.
 
read-more
Indian judge Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected to the International Court of Justice on Monday as the UN General Assembly rallied behind him in a show of force that made Britain  bow to the majority and withdraw its candidate.
 
read-more
Those with a resolve make a big difference to the society. They inspire others to make the best out of a bad situation, steer out of morass with fortitude. Insha Mushtaq, the teenage girl who was pelleted to complete blindness during 2016 emerged as a classic example of courage.
 
read-more
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have "great potential" and they could work together at a "practical level".
 
read-more
This week a major United Nations gathering on climate change gets underway in Bonn, Germany.
 
read-more

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to build India's global appeal for investors seem to have finally yielded returns in terms of the country's performance in the World Bank&rsquo...

 
read-more
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...

 
Column-image

Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.