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3-min read

Doklam Resolution: China Eats Crow, Indian Stock Goes Up

What has China gained by this eventual mutually agreed withdrawal of troops from the India-Bhutan-China trijunction? Zilch. Instead, it’s India’s stock that has shot up – not only in the international community but also among China's own friends and allies.

Rajeev Sharma |

Updated:August 28, 2017, 5:58 PM IST
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Doklam Resolution: China Eats Crow, Indian Stock Goes Up
The Doklam Triborder region is of immense strategic importance for India, given its proximity to the narrow Siliguri corridor. (Representative image/Reuters)
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Let’s come to brass-tacks straightaway. The 70-day-long India-China standoff in Doklam has just ended, as abruptly as it began on June 18. This shows that it’s the Chinese, not the Indians, who have eaten crow.

What has China gained by this eventual mutually agreed withdrawal of troops from the India-Bhutan-China trijunction? Zilch. Instead, it’s India’s stock that has shot up – not only in the international community but also among China's own friends and allies.

The message that has gone across is that China still has a long way to go before it can become a superpower in real terms. It could not implement its own very minor strategic moves like building a road in Doklam, how would it be able to safeguard the interests of over sixty nations who have signed up for China's super 90 billion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive project aimed at building transcontinental trade corridors?

Pakistan, the all-weather ally of China, must have received the rudest shocks among all friends of China. The Pakistani media has already talked at length how China was succumbing to India in Doklam. Obviously, Pakistan was both confused and angry as to why China did not use its much superior military power to throw Indians out of Doklam! Pakistan is a major beneficiary of China's BRI as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, worth anywhere between $55 billion to $62 billion, is a major subsidiary of the BRI. The CPEC passes through volatile terrorism-prone regions and the loss of face for China in Doklam would inevitably embolden terrorists to go about their business and launch attacks on CPEC-related construction projects.

China has purposely issued a nebulous statement wherein it has “confirmed” the withdrawal of Indian troops from Doklam but has remained silent on its own troops’ withdrawal. Obviously, China is pandering to its domestic constituency as the Chinese people will read only that which is dished out to them by the state-controlled Chinese media with a blanket ban on YouTube, Google, Twitter and Facebook. This strategy suits the Communist Party of China, which holds internal elections in October where President Xi Jinping is likely to consolidate his hold over the Chinese power structure for the next five years.

And why should India grudge the Chinese their moment of happiness based on illusions as long as the fact remains that the withdrawal of troops from Doklam is mutual and not a one-way street and that China has assured India, as per sources, that it won’t take up the construction of the road in Doklam again? The Chinese half-truth is akin to the Pakistani embarrassment when Islamabad completely denied Indian claims of surgical strikes on its territory by the Indian army! After facts on the ground count, not half-truths.

As far as India is concerned, New Delhi's stock has gone up several notches vis-a-vis China over the Doklam standoff. No other country stood up to China in recent times as India did. The importance of Doklam victory for India gets sweetly accentuated by the fact that India stood up to China on behalf of a tiny foreign country like Bhutan because the Doklam crisis was essentially a Bhutan-China border dispute, not India-China border dispute. Moreover, a major world power and a known China-baiter like Japan openly sided with India over the Doklam crisis. In contrast, China is saddled with allies like Pakistan and North Korea, which are international pariahs.

Now if China says that it will continue 'patrolling' in Doklam, then let them feel happy and contented. That’s because the Chinese patrolling in the area was never an issue with India. Their construction of a road in the disputed stretch was the issue.

China had realized for weeks that the Doklam episode was more of a crisis for Beijing rather than for New Delhi. The Chinese have finally thrown this albatross from their neck to save the BRICS summit which they are hosting in Xiamen from September 3-5. This will pave the way for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China and he would be leaving on September 2 for attending the BRICS summit.

| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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