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If China raises stakes at Doklam, it will get a bloody nose: former foreign secy

Bharat Bhushan | Updated on: 4 August 2017, 21:23 IST
(Arya Sharma/Catch News)

Former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal argues that while the India-China stand-off at Doklam can certainly be resolved through dialogue, it is unlikely to take place before November when snowfall will force both sides to withdraw.

He rejects the idea of Indian troops at Doklam being replaced by Bhutanese troops as a way to defuse the crisis. He argues that this proposal first originated with some lobbies in Washington DC and was then touted as a possible solution in India. The attempt underlying the proposal, he says, is to apportion guilt equally between India and China while China clearly is the aggressor which has violated the status quo.

Sibal predicts that China will not succeed in this stand-off and that if it raises the stakes, “it will get a bloody nose.”

“If China is reckless then it might be a good opportunity to prick the Chinese bubble,” he argues, even though he hopes that the military face-off does not deteriorate any further.

The former Foreign Secretary says that while America and American allies in the region watched Chinese attempts at extending its territorial boundaries and building infrastructure in the South China Sea, India managed to check-mate China.

“If we succeed in this (at Doklam) also, and I think we are succeeding, it will be a huge blow to Chinese prestige (and belief) that they can do what they want and no one can resist them,” he argues.

Sibal, in this wide-ranging interview on how the situation can be de-escalated in Doklam, argues that Chinese options are limited. China, he says, has painted itself into a corner because it can ill-afford to raise the stakes and start and all-out war -- “We are also a nuclear weapon country and they have to take that into account.”

First published: 4 August 2017, 21:23 IST
Bharat Bhushan @Bharatitis

Editor of Catch News, Bharat has been a hack for 25 years. He has been the founding Editor of Mail Today, Executive Editor of the Hindustan Times, Editor of The Telegraph in Delhi, Editor of the Express News Service, Washington Correspondent of the Indian Express and an Assistant Editor with The Times of India.