Doklam exposed fragility of ties with India, says Chinese daily

Doklam, known as Donglang in Chinese is an area with a plateau and a valley, lying between Tibet's Chumbi Valley to the north, Bhutan's Ha Valley to the east and India's Sikkim state to the west. Photograph:( ANI )

ANI Beijing, China Dec 26, 2017, 08.30 AM (IST)

An opinion piece in a Chinese daily has described China`s ties with India as still being fragile, especially after troops of both countries were engaged in a military stand-off near the trilateral boundary that they share with Bhutan on the Doklam Plateau.

The opinion piece further rubs in the fact that Beijing exhibited its prowess and strength and emphatically sent out a message in the neighbourhood that it could not be messed around with when it came to its sovereignty over the territory.

"This summer witnessed the Doklam standoff between China and India. The two sides eventually resolved the crisis peacefully. Yet the incident exposed how fragile Sino-Indian ties are, while indicating (at the same time) Chinese capability to push back provocations from other nations (Read India) through its own strength," says the opinion piece in the state-run Global Times.

Doklam or Zhoglam (in Standard Tibetan), known as Donglang in Chinese is an area with a plateau and a valley, lying between Tibet's Chumbi Valley to the north, Bhutan's Ha Valley to the east and India's Sikkim state to the west.

In June 2017, a military standoff occurred between China and India as China attempted to extend a road on the Doklam Plateau southwards near the Doka La pass and Indian troops moved in to prevent the Chinese.

India claimed to have acted on behalf of Bhutan, with which it has a 'special relationship'. Bhutan also then formally objected to China's road construction in a disputed area.

On August 28, 2017, it was announced that India and China had mutually agreed to a speedy disengagement on the Doklam Plateau, bringing to an end to the military face-off that lasted for close to three months.

The Chinese foreign ministry, however, sidestepped the question of whether Beijing would continue the road construction.

Latest reports and satellite images of the area indicate that China is continuing with road construction activity on its side of the trilateral boundary.

"Needless to say, the neighbourhood around China is the most complex one among major powers. Without stability in the region surrounding the country, the Global Times simultaneously adds that "it is (would be) impossible for Beijing to take its strategic initiative around the world.

"Describing China as a rising power, the daily says that "China is getting to know better how to adapt to its surrounding nations. Although individual problems and crisis had at time been troublesome, the strategic stability following the emergence of China has increased."

On tensions related to the South China Sea, it says that the year 2017 has seen an improvement in Beijing's ties with the ASEAN and this momentum being maintained and sustained with the help of a framework for establishing a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.

"Beijing's diplomatic efforts have played a significant role in cooling troubled waters. The rise of China is a fact..Tensions in the South China Sea have tested relevant nations in this regard and consensus concerning those questions has been accumulated..The biggest challenge in China`s periphery in 2017 is the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The almost uncontrollable confrontation between Washington and Pyongyang mirrored the limitations of China`s ability to shape the landscape around it," the Global Times opines."

Yet 2017 tells us that emerging China has the resources to solve and control the problems even as they increase.

The self-healing ability of crisis in our neighbourhood is also growing stronger.

The biggest driving force for solving China`s problems on its periphery is development. As long as Beijing keeps its strong development momentum, China will be able to implement ever greater strategic initiatives," the opinion piece concludes.