The Doklam standoff has proven to be the most serious of faceoff between India and China in decades. The world has its eyes glued on the developments because of the potentially horrifying ramifications in case the two powers go to war.
There are many in India who fear that the Chinese might make military moves in the region where the standoff is taking place. This article is meant to alleviate their tensions as far as the Doklam region goes (if China is hell-bent on war, then it’ll open a front elsewhere).
It all began when the Indian army reported to New Delhi that road-building by China seemed imminent. The Narendra Modi government gave permission to the Indian Army to cross the border and stop construction.
Indian troops crossed into Doklam and confronted the Chinese construction parties. These Chinese didn’t offer any resistance as they were merely conscripted border guards. Theylive in heated barracks and their job is to periodically patrol the border in vehicles. They simply don’t have the capability to oppose toughened Indian soldiers and they knew it.
As of now, a 200-metre-long line of Indian infantry soldiers are involved in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with a smaller number of Chinese border guards. Just one metre separates the two lines. A maximum of about 40 Chinese border guards are facing off against three times the number of Indian soldiers.
This Chinese front line is backed up by 1,500 troops who are a mix of border guards and PLA soldiers. They are positioned outside the Doklam area but make regular entries to relieve those on the front line.
The Indian troops standing guard are also relieved in the same manner by a full infantry battalion of 600 troops. This battalion is further supported by a full infantry brigade of 2,000 troops. In addition to this, a second fully acclimatised infantry brigade which is slightly further away stands ready to respond to a crisis.
The reality is that India has two brigades of troops who’ve trained in high altitudes and are fully acclimatised on their toes in case China takes any military action. India has the potential to muster way more troops than China in Sikkim.
As far as the morale is concerned, it is sky-high on the Indian side. Our soldiers know that the act of crossing a border to protect an ally is an unprecedented event. A hilarious and as well as ingenious move of the Indian Army is that it is using a large number of Sikh and Jat soldiers to man the line in Doklam in expectation that their sturdy built will intimidate the smaller Chinese.
In contrast, the morale of the Chinese isn’t that high. They keep breaking the line for cigarette breaks. The Chinese even had to sent a political commissar who ordered up martial music and the hoisting of Chinese flags to harden resolve.
Another major move by the Chinese is that they are building bunkers and creating defences on the border. According to an Indian officer, this shows that the Chinese recognise the capability of the Indian Army and are thus acting decisively.
Aa senior Indian general says, “The situation in Doklam has plateaued. Militarily, the Chinese know they can do nothing here. Eventually it will have to be a negotiated withdrawal, or the Chinese will have to open a front in another sector.”
The Chinese know they can’t match the Indian Army in the Sikkim region which is why all they’ve done is level threats in the hope that India retreats in fear. But that hasn’t happened (credit to the resolve of the Modi government). This has led China to threaten to enter Uttarakhand or Kashmir. China has completely lost it. They fear losing face (if they already haven’t) and now it seems that they’ll need India’s help in deescalating the matter.