Friday, July 14, 2017

Standoff at the Doka La Pass

A dispute in remote mountains has put two nuclear-armed states in armed confrontation:

Starting in June, a tiny piece of strategically important and until-now obscure Himalayan territory sitting at the intersection of India, China, and Bhutan became the site of the one of the most serious border standoffs between New Delhi and Beijing in three decades. As of July 12, 2017, the standoff continues, with no end in sight. Scores — potentially hundreds — of Indian Army and Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops remain at an impasse near the Doka La pass in Doklam. Nearly one month after the standoff began, details about the geography of the area and the motivations of all three governments involved remain murky.

India and China are the primary factors, with Bhutan involved as well. In theory the border is settled diplomacy, but the definitions section is unclear. So a dispute.

Which is not uncommon. China pushes at the border all the time. "Accidentally" crossing disputed borders and then pulling back when confronted by Indian forces.

What is odd is that India has crossed the border to confront the Chinese in support of Bhutan.

China's road building is the issue, it seems. Building roads allows China to deploy and sustain troops, which is useful in a land grab by bringing in superior forces first to stake the claim and dare the other side to respond by escalating.

China complained about India's infrastructure building on India's side of the border recently, recall.

So both sides understand the importance of roads.


UPDATE: And even more.