What is Doklam Issue: Why India and China are fighting over in the neighboring state of Bhutan
The face-off between the Indian and Chinese troops has again happened but this time at the border of North eastern State of Sikkim at Do Ko La which is situated at the border of India, China and Bhutan. Reports state that the tension between both the countries is increasing, and 3000 troupes have been deployed by both the countries known to be one of the major ‘eyeball to eyeball confrontation’.
In Sikkim, the demarcation of boundaries has always been accepted and respected by both the countries which is based on a 127-year-old treaty signed between the Qing empire and Great Britain the Anglo-Chinese Convention of 1890. It was demarcated five years later in 1895. In fact, the Chinese foreign minister even reaffirmed on June 27 that it stood by the border delineation. Due to China’s claims over Tibet, Do Ko La pleatue is of major importance for China as it will strategically help china to keep an eye over Chumba valley in Tibet. People’s Liberation army of China is reportedly building a road that will connect China to contentious area of the tri-junction. The road is planned to give Chinese troupes a direct access to the Chicken neck area which connects the mainland India with the North Eastern States. Signs of trouble at the border area came into sight when the pilgrims of India were not allowed to pass through Nathu-La to reach Kailash Mansarover. The reports of rift were confirmed after the jostling between the soldiers at border area. China has retaliated with the statement that India does not have any stake in the Do Ko La platue road construction issue and should refrain from such contentions. It is worth noting that while China and Bhutan does not have any diplomatic ties, Bhutan is a close ally of India with India offering help to Bhutan in several ways.
Major General (Retired) Vetsop Namgyel, ambassador of Bhutan to India, has informed that it has conveyed to China that road construction is not keeping with the agreements between two countries. We have asked China to stop road constructions and refrain from changing the status quo. Doklam area is near the tri-junction is part of the boundary talks between Bhutan and China.
On June 30, the Indian government finally issued an official statement saying that Indian troops, in coordination with the Bhutanese Army, were trying to ”desist” the People’s Liberation Army from constructing the road and ‘changing the status quo unilaterally’. However, the statement reiterated that ‘India is committed to working with China to find peaceful resolution of all issues in the border areas through dialogue’. The matter is sensitive due to India’s security concerns.