Amidst media reports about China’s stepped-up activities in the Doklam plateau, India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is currently on a visit to the country’s Northeastern states to review defence preparedness …Read More
Japan’s unequivocal support for India’s stand on the Doklam crisis with China has come yet as another proof of the success of New Delhi’s diplomacy in getting its point across to other nations on the crucial issue, without getting provoked by the sound and fury in Beijing.
New Delhi’s calibrated approach is in stark contrast to China’s hasty steps and threatening noises that followed the Indian troops’ intervention to stop construction of a strategic road in Doklam which lies at the trijunction of India, China and Bhutan in the Sikkim sector, as the road would have made the PLA’s access easier to the ‘Chicken Neck’, the narrow strip of land that links India with its north-eastern states.
Signals emanating from the US also indicate that India’s behaviour was being appreciated as becoming of a mature power.
The explicit support of Japan, Asia’s second largest economy, is the first such expression of solidarity by an important Asian power for India in the wake of the Doklam stand-off. In the more than two months since the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops started on the Doklam plateau, “India’s restraint and smart diplomacy has elicited admiration and respect from major power centres, indicating growing international support for India’s position that sensitive issues like these should be resolved through dialogue, and not allowed to be hijacked by hysterical nationalist propaganda emanating from China’s state-controlled media outlets,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief of India and World, a prestigious magazine on international affairs. “In situations like these, soft power matters as much as hard power,” he said. Read more…
Amid a nearly two month old border standoff at the Doklam plateau, China’s propaganda and psychological warfare has acquired a new vehemence, especially when it comes to distorting Bhutan’s position …Read More
Propaganda thrives in times of conflict, and in this ongoing battle of perceptions between India and China amid the weeks-long standoff at the Sikkim border, sections of China’s state-controlled media have launched a verbal blitzkrieg, accusing India of sinister motives and peddling the government’s line. The latest salvo from The Global Times, a notoriously hawkish nationalist tabloid, has a conspiratorial ring and blames the United States for interfering and benefiting from the India-China standoff.
“More than five weeks into the border standoff between China and India, some countries other than the two directly involved are trying to step in,” said the Global Times in a hard-hitting article, in an apparent reference to the US and Australia.
Titled “Instigating Sino-India confrontation won’t benefit US,” the article alluded to commentaries in the US media calling on Washington to provide to support India to “deter and counter” China and mobilise the world against Beijing. The article targeted Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop for her remarks, during her recent visit to India, about resolving the Doka La issue peacefully. “Bishop intends to blur the nature of the face-off and shows disguised support for India.”
Ever since India sent its troops to prevent Chinese troops from building a road through the disputed Dokalam plateau along the Sikkim border over five weeks ago, the Global Times and other state-controlled media outfits have constantly reinforced the Chinese government’s spin about India trespassing into the Chinese territory, and has been relentlessly issuing threatening messages to India, warning of a repeat of the 1962 war in which China humiliated India and occupied large swathes of the Indian territory. Such propaganda blitz, however, hasn’t cut much ice in the international community, with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj telling parliament a few days ago that the world is with India in the wake of the Doka La stand-off.
Ahead of National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s visit to Beijing for a BRICS meeting, China has signalled a hardening of its posture on the continuing standoff along the Sikkim border by reiterating that the only way to resolve the impasse is for India to unconditionally withdraw troops as a precursor to any talks.
Alluding to remarks of China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the spokesperson of China’s Foreign Office, Lu Kang, pinned the blame on India for trespassing into China’s territory and asked for an unconditional pull-out by India. “I have stressed many times that the crux of this incident is that the Indian border troops illegally trespassed into China’s territory and the solution as Wang put it is for Indian border troops to pull-out unconditionally. This is a precondition basis for any meaningful talks between the two countries,” said the spokesperson in Beijing on July 26.
The Chinese spokesperson’s clarification and reiteration of its stated position came a day before the meeting of the national security advisers of BRICS countries at which Mr Doval will represent India. India has made it clear to China that India’s decision to send its troops to the disputed Doklam plateau, which is contested by both China and Bhutan, was based on a careful assessment that China’s building of a road through the strategic plateau amounted to an attempt to change the status quo at the strategically located India-Bhutan-China tri-junction and represented a threat to the country’s security.
With both India and China refusing to budge from their positions, and Beijing repeatedly asking India for unilateral withdrawal of troops, there is hardly any room for compromise and little hope of any breakthrough in the continuing stalemate. However, all eyes will be on a likely bilateral meeting between Mr Doval and his Chinese counterpart, the influential State Councillor Yang Jiechi, on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting. Both Doval and Yang are also Special Representatives for the India-China boundary negotiations, and enjoy confidence of their leaders. Hence, the Doval-Yang meeting, if it takes place, could prepare the stage for some give-and-take to resolve the Doklam standoff, which has plunged relations between the two Asian giants to a new low.
With the impasse deepening between the two Asian giants over their weeks-long border standoff, India has made it clear to China that “both sides must pull back troops and work things out with talks,” and underlined that other countries have backed India over the Doklam stand-off.
In a pointed speech in parliament on July 20, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that “both sides must pull back troops and work things out with talks” and stressed that India’s action (in sending its troops to the Doklam plateau last month) was motivated by its need to protect its security near where the boundaries of China, India and Bhutan meet.
“If China, unilaterally changes the status quo of the tri-junction point, it is a straight challenge to our security,” said Ms Swaraj.
The relations between the two Asian powers have been under severe stress for over a month after Chinese troops started building a road in the disputed Doklam plateau, which Bhutan claims as part of its own territory. India sent in its troops to stall the construction of the road as it would give the Chinese military access to the Chicken Point that links the mainland India with its seven north-eastern states.
India is insisting on diplomatic means to resolve the crisis amid aggressive rhetoric emanating from nationalistic state-controlled media in Beijing.
In a sign that India is hoping that dialogue will resolve the impasse, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will travel to China on July 27 for a meeting of national security advisers of BRICS grouping of emerging powers, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. India is looking for a separate bilateral meeting between Mr Doval and China’s influential State Counsellor Yeng Jiechi on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting to explore ways to defuse the crisis.