Doklam and the Indo-China Boundary

Major General AK Bardalai is an Indian Army Veteran.
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  • January-March 2018

    On 19 December 2017, three days ahead of the scheduled 20th Round of Indo-China border talk between the Indian National Security Advisor (NSA), Ajit Doval, and China’s State Councillor, Yang Jiechi (the details of which are yet to be made public), the daily Times of India reported a statement by China that the Doklam standoff posed a ‘major test’ for the bilateral ties and that lessons should be learnt from it to avoid a similar situation of its kind in the future.1 China’s statement was made in the context of the face-off between Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the Doklam plateau (see Figure 1), a disputed area of 89 sq km in western Bhutan, near East Sikkim. The crisis occurred on 8 June 2017, when PLA troops crossed over to the Bhutanese territory with road construction machinery, with the aim of building a motorable road connecting Chumbi Valley and the Doklam Plateau. In response, the Indian Army from the nearby Sikkim garrison quickly moved inside the Bhutanese territory and prevented the PLA from constructing the road. The standoff continued till 28 August when both the countries agreed to pull back their troops with the media hailing it as a diplomatic victory.

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