A leading state-run Chinese daily has reported that Beijing might use a small-scale military offensive against India to end the Doklam standoff.
Quoting Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Global Times reported on August 5 that China is prepared for a small war to assert its position in Doklam, which is actually Bhutanese territory.
Hu has come to his conclusion based on the recent statements issued by Chinese officials in China and India.
“The series of remarks from the Chinese side within a 24-hour period sends a signal to India that there is no way China will tolerate the Indian troops’ incursion into Chinese territory for too long. If India refuses to withdraw, China may conduct a small-scale military operation within two weeks.”
The expert said that China will “inform” India before the “operation” begins.
Hu also said that the objective of this “war” will be to either “expel” Indian troops from Doklam or capture them.
It should be noted that China has been issuing bellicose statements ever since the Indian Army responded to a Bhutanese call to stop illegal Chinese road construction activity in Doklam.
While the Indian troops succeeded in thwarting China’s belligerent designs, it resulted in a standoff since June 16.
Doklam is near Sikkim and is an important strategic point for Bhutan as well as India. Bhutan claims status quo over the region based on agreements it signed with China in 1989 and 1998.
China, on the other hand, has disregarded the agreements and has been using flimsy arguments and treaties as old as those from late 19th century to assert its position.
India is justifiably concerned about Chinese attempts at building roads in the region because it directly threatens security of northeast due to Doklam’s proximity to chicken’s neck corridor and Sikkim.
On Thursday night, Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang issued a statement telling India to vacate the region.
On Wednesday, the deputy chief of mission in the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, Liu Jinsong, called India’s move “risky and indisciplined” and warned of “serious consequences”. Jinsong’s statement – a threat – was criticized as “unbecoming” conduct from a diplomat.
On the other hand, India has maintained a proper diplomatic decorum in all its statements. On Thursday, Sushma Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha that bilateral talks, not war, is the solution.