As the standoff between the Indian and Chinese Armies over the Bhutanese Plateau of Doklam enters into the second month, it is India’s ability to check the expansionist China’s ride over small neighbors that is on test.
Under President Xi, who administer the country’s rising time like an emperor, China was able to establish control over several disputed island territories of small East Asian countries’ and the latter subdued their protest.
Beijing’s Doklam endeavor is aimed at multiple benefits. On the one side, it can get control over the plateau from where it can monitor and target the Chicken neck. This will convert the trijunction as the weakest areas of Indo – China border for India.
The next benefit is even more attractive – that it will test New Delhi’s capacity to ensure its protectorate state ie., Bhutan’s territorial integrity and thus the credibility of the 1949 Indo-Bhutan treaty.
In the same way, the control over Doklam will give warming assurance to allies like Pakistan, semi-allies like Nepal and strong messages to nervous neighbors like Bhutan that Beijing is the real force in South Asia.
Interestingly, the tension occurred just after India rejected Xi ‘s master plan of the Road and Belt initiative by not participating in the recent Beijing meeting where US and Europe send their representatives.
After the Belt and Road summit, China not wasted even a week to open its zone of confrontation across the Himalayas. The middle kingdom is taking a calculated risk in the hope that it will pay-off when the country is having the military might.
The latest confrontation between the two countries also revealed a turnaround in managing the conflicts. Media in India even under more free expression rights, adopted self-restriction on reporting the tension. On the other side, the state controlled Chinese media seems to sensitivise the standoff and tried to mobilise public opinion on the matter unlike in the past.