India heightens alert level after increased tensions with China
India’s armed forces are “fully prepared” in the event of conflict with China.
Last month, we reported that a territorial dispute along the China-India border is threatening to turn into a military conflict.
Now, while the world’s attention is focused on North Korea, India has increased its alert level amid increased tension with China.
India’s military has increased operational readiness along the eastern Indian border with China, sources said, as neither side shows any sign of backing off from a face-off in a remote Himalayan region near their disputed frontier.
Indian and Chinese troops have been embroiled in the seven-week confrontation on the Doklam plateau, claimed by both China and India’s tiny ally, Bhutan.
While a repeat of the 1962 conflict between the two nations is not anticipated, the news underscores the interest countries have in this region.
India’s Defense Minister Arun Jaitley told parliament this week that the country’s armed forces are “fully prepared” in the event of conflict with China.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Indian troops in Sikkim, south of Doklam, have been put on heightened alert, although the news agency quoted an unnamed source as saying it was “out of caution.”
In 1962, India and China fought a bloody month-long border war. The neighbors also have a continuing dispute over the sovereignty Aksai Chin, a Himalayan region on their extreme western border.
Doklam is strategically close to a sliver of land called the “Chicken’s Neck” that is India’s only land corridor to its frequently restive northeast.
The two countries have also long been at odds over India’s hosting of Tibet’s government-in-exile and their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, considered by China to be subversive.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has just met her Bhutanese counterpart Damcho Dorji to review the situation.
This was the first meeting between the two ministers since the Doklam crisis broke out.
This meeting also comes at a time when China has been upping the ante with its media blitzkrieg of opinion pieces and articles in the Chinese mouthpieces as well as regular statements from the Chinese foreign ministry ‘warning’ India of dire consequences if it does not withdraw troops from Doklam.
This is also the first time that there has been an official reaction from the Bhutanese side since the press release that the Bhutan’s foreign ministry put out on June 29 which read, “Bhutan has conveyed to the Chinese side, both on the ground and through the diplomatic channel, that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the agreements and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between our two countries. Bhutan hopes that the status quo in the Doklam area will be maintained as before 16 June 2017.”
No mention of either “fire” or “fury” appears to have been made at any point.
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