China and India may be on a path to war
BEIJING, AUG 05 (DNA) – In mid-June, a remote area called the Dolam plateau in the Himalayas where the boundaries of China, India and Bhutan meet made headlines when Indian and Chinese troops began a standoff over a road construction project.
China conducted a live-fire exercise in the area, and there have been false reports of deaths. Diplomatic efforts are underway to de-escalate the situation, but still the risk of war has been on everyone’s mind.
The terrain and weather in the area, located in a region called Doklam, are anathema to war. And yet, almost exactly 55 years ago, China and India fought briefly over this and other contested border areas.
So what is the strategic value of this seemingly obscure plateau? And would India and China really go to war again over it?
Put two major powers next to each other, even on the world’s largest continent with buffer states between them, and they’re bound to bump heads from time to time. China and India have most often fought over Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh state, which borders China in an isolated patch of Indian territory east of what’s known as the Siliguri Corridor.
The corridor is a narrow strip of land – just 17 miles (27 kilometers) wide at its narrowest point – that connects the rest of India to its northeastern states wedged between Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China. After the 1962 war between India and China a war also over border disputes, specifically Arunachal Pradesh and Kashmir a border known as the McMahon Line was drawn between China and Arunachal Pradesh.
China withdrew its troops from the area, but it didn’t recognize India’s sovereignty over the territory.
India eventually annexed the Kingdom of Sikkim, which expanded the buffer it had to defend the Siliguri Corridor, and assumed the role of protecting Bhutan.
On the surface, the origins of this latest standoff seem innocuous. It began with China’s construction of a road on the outskirts of China’s western territory.
The road leads toward the Chumbi Valley, which lies in the tri-border area between China, India and Bhutan. This small area dips between the other two countries. =DNA
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