China and India are clashing over a remote Himalayan territory. The territory could spark a destroying nuclear war. Chinese and Indian soldiers have lined up “eyeball to eyeball” on the remote Doklam plateau, since mid-June. More troops have been sent to the frontline, in recent days.
Experts in China have warned, “There could be a chance of war”. The flash point between the two seems mundane. The building of a new road on the Chinese controlled, but disputed, plateau. China tells India to withdraw its troops from Chinese territory. There is said to be “complete stalemate” in the confrontation now.
China and India have regularly come to blows on their 4000km long. Both also come to blows on the infuriatingly ill-defined border. Few people live in these disrupted areas are remote and treacherous.
The current anger kicked off in an area close to what India calls the “chicken neck”. Directly to the north is China, covetous for some of the land it overlooks.
China commenced construction of a new road leading to the Doklam plateau, a disputed area it currently administers, in early June. It is close to the chicken neck at the so-called “tri junction”. Tri junction where its frontier meets both India and the tiny mountain kingdom of Bhutan.
China accuses Indian troops stationed in Bhutan from straying across the frontier to prevent the road’s construction.
On Monday, China’s state news agency, Xinhua, said the Indian military’s “trespass into Chinese territory is a blatant infringement on China’s sovereignty”. But, Bhutan says it is the rightful owner of the plateau.
While Bhutan is part of the fight, the real battle of wills is between China and India.
China releases evidence of Indian army’s ‘transgression’ into its territory. The Indian External Affairs Ministry has justified the build up, saying a 2012 agreement meant the frontier at the tri-junction would be finalized between the three countries.
The emerging Asian superpower is also forging a closer alliance with India’s longtime foe and neighbor Pakistan and is planning to build a military base in the country.