What was the Doklam issue and why did it flare up in 2017?
Doklam is an area disputed between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. Unlike China and Bhutan, India does not claim Doklam but supports Bhutan's claim. The 2017 Doklam standoff refers to the military border standoff between the Indian Armed Forces and the People's Liberation Army of China over Chinese construction of a road in Doklam near a trijunction border area. In June 2017 Chinese troops with construction vehicles and road-building equipment began extending an existing road southward in Doklam, a territory which is claimed by both China as well as India's ally Bhutan. Indian troops armed with weapons and bulldozers crossed the Sikkim border into Doklam to stop the Chinese troops from constructing the road. In August, both India and China announced that they had withdrawn all their troops from the face-off site in Doklam.
What is the strategic Importance of Doklam?
In recent years China has been strengthening its military presence in the Chumbi Valley, where the Chinese are at a great disadvantage strategically. Both Indian and Bhutanese troops are on a higher ground around the Valley.
This is also the reason why the Chinese have a deep interest in Doklam, which would give them a commanding view of and an easy access to both the Chumbi Valley and the Siliguri Corridor. Doklam region had global attention after the stand-off. The Bhutanese government told China 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.” India said: “Such construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India.”
Was Doklam a win for India?
Yes, for the following reasons: