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Namrata Biji Ahuja
Namrata Biji Ahuja

BORDER TENSION

What N.Korea crisis has to do with Doklam standoff

india-china-border-afp India is locked in a bitter stand off with China in the tri-junction of India-Bhutan-China in Doklam | AFP

In 1962 , when China's People Liberation Army stormed Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh (then known as Northeast Frontier Agency), Beijing had got its timing right. At least, it thought so.

The Sino-Indian war coincided with the Cuban crisis. Russia was reeling under Cold War with the US, and the Cuban missile crisis had heightened tensions so much that India could not garner immediate support from its super power friends.

Beijing may be having similar thoughts today. India is once again locked in a bitter stand off with China in the tri-junction of India-Bhutan-China in the Doklam plateau and Beijing is warning of military action if India does not pull back its troops.

If strategic analysts are to be believed, the North Korea engagement of the US could prompt Beijing to escalate the tensions on the border once again. They feel that the timing of any spill over of the Doklam stand off could well coincide with what is happening on China's other frontier with North Korea. 

"Beijing will definitely be weighing its pros and cons. Can they afford to have military action on its frontier with India is something that won't be seen in isolation but viewed alongside America's engagement and  response to North Korea. The recently signed LEMOA agreement between India and US allows use of military assets of each other in case of emergencies ," said strategic expert VinayJoshi of the Guwahati-based Institute for Conflict Research and Resolution. In August 2016, India and the United States signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). LEMOA is a facilitating agreement that establishes basic terms, conditions and procedures for reciprocal provision of logistic support, supplies and services between the armed forces of the two countries.

Meanwhile, if any lessons are to be learnt from history (as Beijing is warning India ) it is not just for New Delhi.  This might also be a time for Beijing to look back.

In 1962, New Delhi's friends did find time for it.  The timing, after all, didn't prove as perfect as Beijing had supposed it to be.  The US became active and military supplies had started pouring in for New Delhi. The Sino-Indian war went on for a month before Chinese troops went back to their original position while setting up a base in Aksai Chin.

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Topics : #India-China

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