Monday, July 3, 2017

The longest stand off in recent times.

Since the first week of June, there has been a stand off between the Sino-Indian armies on the border near the Nathu La pass. Our 17 Mountain Division - the Black Cats - has the overall charge of the area. So, how did the tensions come about? The anatomy of the conflict goes something like this:-

   * About 30 kms from Nathu la, the meeting point of (Sikkim)India, Bhutan and Tibet(China) at the
      Dhok La saw the beginning of the confrontation. China had begun to construct a road at the
      area, in dispute between Bhutan and China. Since Bhutan has no diplomatic ties with China, it
      had lodged its protest at the Chinese embassy in New Delhi. Also, the Royal Bhutan Army sought
      the Indian army's help in sorting out the issue. When the Indian Army asked the Chinese to stop
      their road building activities, China was irritated and took the position that:-
              - no one had the right to stop it from carrying out work in 'its area'.
              - the differences were between Bhutan and China and India, a third country, had no reason
                to interfere.

   * Somewhere around this time, a few Chinese soldiers had crossed over into Indian territory and
      destroyed two bunkers.
   * The passage of the Kailash-Manasarovar pilgrims through the Nathu La was denied by China,
      which, further, escalated the tensions.

Now, why is Dhok La important for us?

India is connected to its north eastern states through the Siliguri corridor and it's this strategic piece of land that becomes vulnerable if China were to occupy and strengthen its position at Dhok La. If it were to attack and take control of the corridor, it can snap our communications with the north east.

It isn't hard to understand China's motives which are:-

      - The larger security threat that looms over India with respect to the north east. To keep this
         issue stoked it can have India worried.
      - To break the good relations between Bhutan and India.

It would be interesting to see how the stand off is sorted out.


It was with a heavy heart that Lekha and I'd taken leave of the partying folks, just before the 'muhurtham', to the airport on our return leg. Bad, Rajeev! Karthik and Aditi, we wish you a long and happy married life and may you get whatever you wish for.

Sutapa, the reception in charge, Lakshmi, the restaurant's captain, Ramesh, the bell boy as well as Vinay, the Ola car driver were very helpful.

It was raining at Kochi and we'd taken a cab from the airport for the long drive back. Bhasi, the driver, had kept a sustained and meaningful conversation throughout.


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