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Chinese National Held While Trying to Enter Country from India-Nepal Border in UP's Maharajganj District
A Chinese national was arrested while trying to enter the country through the India-Nepal border in Maharajganj's Sonouli, Uttar Pradesh Police said on Sunday.

Police said though he had a valid visa for India, the entry of foreign nationals from the Indo-Nepal border is prohibited due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He was held on Saturday by the SSB while trying to illegally cross over to the country through a path between farms, Maharajganj SP Rohit Singh Sajwan said.

Police said a case has been registered against him under Section 420 (cheating) of the IPC and provisions of the Foreigners Act.

As per his passport, the Chinese national has been identified as Shen Lei (37).

"During interrogation, it was found that Shen Lei is a medicine trader and had a valid visa for India. He came to New Delhi from China on January 30 and on March 8, he went to Kathmandu in Nepal. His tourist visa in Nepal expired on August 4, so he tried to enter India," Sonouli SHO Ashutosh Singh said.
 
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China dumps large-scale optic fibre cables from India, tariff wars expected
India has found a large-scale dumping of optic fibre cables from China, days after Beijing extended anti-dumping duty for five years on import of fibre optic product made in India, which could trigger a similar tariff measure to check influx of the Chinese product in the Indian market, two officials aware of development said.

The government is considering imposing remedial duty on the import of ‘single mode optical fibre’ as an investigation by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has confirmed its dumping mainly from China, the officials said requesting anonymity. The DGTR is a single-window agency for administering all trade remedial measures including anti-dumping, countervailing duties and safeguard measures.

After a detailed investigation, the DGTR on Friday concluded that import of single mode optical fibre at dumped rates is threatening to cause “serious injury” to Indian manufacturers and recommended imposition of a 10% safeguard duty on its import from all countries except for developing nations barring China, the officials said. The government had already raised basic customs duty (BCD) on it by 5% in July 2019.

The finance ministry is expected to take a final decision on this matter soon, they said. Single mode optical fibres are used as a medium for telecommunication operations such as community access televisions (CATV), fibre to the home (FTH) and computer networking because it is flexible and can be bundled as cables.

“Effectively, the measure is against Chinese firms as combined import from all other developing countries is less than 9%. China alone has a share of over 84% in its import,” one of the officials said.

The DGTR’s recommendation came close on the heels of Chinese commerce ministry’s punitive tariff on the same product imported from India for five years, effective from August 14.

According to officials, China is resorting to tariff barriers as its companies are suffering from overcapacity, and also diverting its exports to the Indian market after global boycott of the Chinese products. “Based on complaints by the domestic optic fibre industry, the DGTR had initiated the investigation on Chinese dumping on September 23 last year. It had issued a primary finding on November 6 last year, but its recommendations could not be implemented at that time,” the first official said.

A second official said India is very cautious about Chinese unfair trade practices especially after June 15. Sino-Indian tensions have shot up after a violent brawl between Chinese and Indian soldiers on June 15 along the Line of Actual Control in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in which 20 Indian army personnel and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers were killed.

Divakar Vijayasarathy, founder and managing partner at consultancy firm DVS Advisors LLP, said, “The precursor for this issue has been laid much before the border issue with China. However, the timing of the notification of the findings and recommendations indicate towards China considering the fact that in November the same was not notified.”

Dumping is an unfair trade practice that entails the export of a product at a price lower than its value and is countered by punitive actions, which are acceptable measure under multilateral trade agreements, the officials said. Remedial actions include imposition of anti-dumping duty (against under-priced imports), safeguard measures (imposition of a duty, a quota, or both against unexpected import surge) and countervailing duty (against export subsidies) to protect domestic units.

India has taken a tough position against unfair Chinese trade practices as it is committed to protecting domestic industry under the government’s Make in India campaign, the officials said.

India-China bilateral trade is heavily tilted in favour of China. According to trade figures released by the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) in mid-January 2020, India’s trade deficit with China was $56.77 billion in 2019; bilateral trade amounted to about $92.68 billion last year, a 1.6% annual increase.

“Given the domestic economic scenario, the finance ministry is expected to accept this,” Vijayasarathy said adding that the move cannot be linked to China alone as the government has been indicating its intentions of protecting the domestic industry.

“In the budget, customs duty was increased for more than 10 products. Since China is a major supplier for India with huge trade surplus, any action on imports across the board would impact China. Atmanirbhar Bharat itself is to restrict the influence of China on Indian markets and with relationships soaring, indirect economic sanctions will help both in hurting China and giving a boost to the fortunes of the domestic industry,” he said.
 

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Today, India’s strategic autonomy is about coping with Beijing’s challenge to its territorial integrity, sovereignty
Addressing a Southeast Asian forum last week, external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar outlined India’s new quest for “strategic autonomy” in its global economic engagement. “Strategic autonomy” is a familiar idea for students of India’s post-Cold War diplomacy. Jaishankar’s extension of it to foreign economic policy marks an important moment in the evolution of India’s international relations.

To be sure, Jaishankar’s “strategic autonomy” is the natural external complement to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s delineation of a new economic strategy, described as “Atmanirbharata” or “self-reliance”. The PM’s articulation on self-reliance came as part of the post-COVID economic measures unveiled earlier this year.

Since the concept carries so much ideological baggage, its resurrection by Modi inevitably raised many questions. Is India turning its back on economic globalisation of the last few decades? Is Delhi harking back to the much-vaunted idea of economic autarky that peaked during the years of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi?

Senior ministers and officials of the NDA government sought to reassure India’s partners that Delhi was not marching backwards. In his address to the nation on Independence Day, the PM talked at some length on his definition of economic self-reliance. Modi underlined India’s determination to seek deeper global economic engagement, if only on different terms.

Unlike in the past, Modi’s self-reliance today is not about retreating from the world, but of enhancing India’s economic contribution to the global economy. Above all, it is about empowering India and the speedy realisation of its full national economic potential. When applied to the foreign policy framework, “self-reliance” becomes “strategic autonomy”. In his remarks at the ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks, Jaishankar pointed to the very different context that informs India’s strategic autonomy.

Jaishankar referred to the risks in the global economy that have come into sharp view since the corona crisis enveloped the world earlier this year. He also pointed to the growing consensus among the major economic actors for shorter and more reliable global supply chains. Although Jaishankar did not mention China by name, it was at the heart of the argument. “Actions of nations during times of crisis determine how the world really perceives them, and they did bring up many of the risks inherent in the current global economy,” he said. De-risking supply chains has now become an explicit policy of many countries, including India.

Even more deeply, there is a growing international concern that Beijing has taken unilateral advantage of the global trading system. This in turn has led to calls for a significant rearrangement of the global economic order away from excessive dependence on China.

Jaishankar also compared the current and earlier context of India’s “strategic autonomy”. He reminded his audience that India’s past emphasis on strategic autonomy was in the context of the “unipolar moment” that emerged after the Cold War. As America towered over the world after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, India was caught in a cleft stick.

On the one hand, it had to actively seek the cooperation of the US and the West to make a success of its economic reform and reorientation. India needed Western capital as well as technology and better access to its markets. On the other hand, Delhi had to protect some of its core national interests from the threats of US intervention.

In the early 1990s, the Clinton Administration had the irresistible itch to resolve the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. Washington also thought that South Asian nuclear weapons programmes were a big threat to international peace and security.

To make matters even more interesting, the Clinton Administration saw the nuclear and Kashmir disputes as one and the same thing. Washington concluded that “Kashmir is the world’s most dangerous nuclear flashpoint”. The story of Indian diplomacy for the next two decades was about a sustained effort to change the US policy on both Kashmir and nuclear issues.

Thanks to the fresh thinking on India under President George W Bush, the US discarded the long-standing temptation to insert itself in the Kashmir dispute. The US also went out of the way to resolve the nuclear dispute with India by changing its domestic laws and international norms on nuclear proliferation. The Obama and Trump Administrations have stayed the course since then.

In its single-minded focus on resolving the American problem, Delhi paid little attention to the gathering challenges from China. It is not that Beijing did not signal the looming trouble. On the atomic front, as the US sought to lift the prolonged atomic blockade against India, China sought to block the process. Beijing insisted if India was to be let into the nuclear club, so must Pakistan. When the US refused, China turned an obstacle to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

If India’s nightmare in the 1990s was about America “internationalising” the Kashmir dispute, it is China that now takes up the issue regularly in the United Nations Security Council. Delhi’s prolonged refusal to see the China challenge on was finally overcome with the PLA aggression in eastern Ladakh this summer.

In the 1990s, India’s strategic autonomy was about fending off US political threats to India. Today, it is inevitably about coping with China’s challenge to India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. And then some. In the 1990s, the US was seen as a valued economic partner for India. China today is viewed in Delhi as a major threat to India’s economic development.

The problems in India’s rapidly expanding economic relationship with China came into view in the 2010s as the bilateral trade deficit steadily rose reaching nearly $55billion in 2019. Even more important was the fact the cheap import of manufactured goods from China was wiping out India’s industrial base.

Modi ended India’s inaction when he pulled India out of an Asia-wide free-trade arrangement called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership late last year. Delhi had concluded that a China-led economic order in Asia will permanently doom India’s economic prospects. Beijing’s Ladakh aggression forced India to go from a passive commercial withdrawal to an active economic decoupling from China.

In the 1990s, the quest for strategic autonomy from the US drove India into a political coalition with Russia and China that sought to limit the dangers of the unipolar moment. Today, the logic of strategic autonomy from China nudges India to look for strong security partnerships with the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. On the economic front, India is exploring various forms of collaboration with a broad group of nations that have a shared interest in developing trustworthy global supply chains that are not totally tied with China.

Threats to either territorial integrity or economic prosperity are powerful enough on their own to compel drastic changes in any nation’s policies. Coming together, they promise to make strategic autonomy from an assertive China an enduring theme of India’s economic and foreign policies in the years ahead.
 

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A Frozen Line in the Himalayas
Introduction
U.S.-India defense ties continue to expand and deepen, but questions linger in Washington as to whether there is merit in these efforts. The United States has changed rules and created novel programs to strengthen defense ties with India. However, to many Western analysts, India remains largely absent at the front line of key conflicts that the United States considers globally significant. But this is the wrong lens to interpret India’s security role. India faces key challenges of its own outside of the U.S. periphery, one of which lies in the cold reaches of the Himalayas, where the territorial integrity and security of smaller nations across China’s western periphery hangs in the balance.

Government-to-government relations between the United States and India were chilly during most of the latter period of the Cold War. Strategic choices by both nations created a gulf between them, and the merits of spending heavy political capital to bridge this gulf were viewed as insufficient to change course. India chose a position of non-alignment during the Cold War, which was incompatible with Washington’s “black and white” view of the world. The United States chose to build stronger relations with India’s two regional rivals, China and Pakistan, as part of Cold War calculations; meanwhile, India cemented security ties with the Soviet Union in order to gain access to modern military platforms.

U.S.-India strategic ties only started gaining momentum when U.S. policy leaders recognized that their relationship with India required a new type of partnership. This new relationship would not fit neatly into past boxes, such as “treaty ally,” and it meant that the United States would have to put some big ideas on the table that it had rarely—if ever—offered any partner. Examples include shepherding India into the club of declared nuclear powers and looking for novel ways to transfer defense technologies that India could use to build up its own military industrial base.

Washington’s strategic leaders often question “when” the partnership with India will bear fruit but spend insufficient time pondering the question of “where” it is likely to do so. India has not played a leading role in many of the global struggles the United States believes are crucial for a stable world order, such as Russia’s incursions in Europe, the rise of the Islamic State, and China’s destabilizing pursuits in the South China Sea. India is directly impacted by the last two conflicts, yet it has hesitated in taking any type of coordinated action in either case.

However, if Washington wants to judge the merits of the emerging partnership between the United States and India, it would be best suited by focusing on India’s role as a regional security provider. For example, the Himalayan region is one where analysts will find that India’s actions support peace and stability. The fact that India is playing an active role in its neighborhood should inspire U.S. policy leaders to further strengthen defense cooperation with India.

Through satellite imagery analysis, this report presents how India faces another front in China’s expansionist territorial ambitions, one which flared up at the India-China-Bhutan trijunction point in 2017. While few Western analysts have considered this area as strategically significant as regions such as the East China Sea, the Straits of Taiwan, and the South China Sea, this view is slowly evolving. As India struggles to maintain peace and security in the region, it is imperative that the United States support its effort to impede China’s territorial pressure through defense trade and cooperation.

The Border Question
The line of actual control (LAC) is a 3,488 km un-demarcated border that runs between India and China and is divided into three sectors: the western sector (Ladakh), the middle sector (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim), and the eastern sector (Arunachal Pradesh). A contested border, the LAC’s ambiguity has prompted many flare-ups and has even resulted in two battles between India and China. Treaties from the British colonial era in South Asia lie at the heart of these disputes. India believes it inherited firm borders from the British, while China considers the border question unsettled. When the People’s Republic of China assumed power in 1949, it renounced all prior foreign agreements as unequal treaties imposed upon it during the century of humiliation, demanding a renegotiation of all its borders.

Over the years, India and China have attempted to address the border dispute. High-level border talks started in 1981 and broke down in 1987 after eight rounds. In 1988, following Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to China, a Joint Working Group (JWG) was set up “to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution on the boundary question.” From 1988 to 1993, border tensions were reduced through confidence-building measures (CBMs), including “mutual troop reductions, regular meetings of local military commanders and advance notifications of military exercises.” Fourteen rounds of talks were held under this format through 2003. During Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to China in 2003, the two sides agreed on the appointment of special representatives (SR) for consultations aimed at reaching a boundary settlement framework on which to base the process of delineation and demarcation of the border. The SR consultations replaced the JWG process. The 22nd round of SR talks were held in December 2019, with national security adviser Ajit Doval as India’s SR.

CBMs have established mechanisms for maintaining peace at the border. The mechanisms have been established through five agreements signed between the two countries:

1993: The two sides agreed that “pending an ultimate solution to the boundary question between the two countries, the two sides shall strictly respect and observe the line of actual control.” “Each side will keep its military forces in the areas along the line of actual control to a minimum level compatible with the friendly and good neighbourly relations between the two countries.” Further, if problems arise at the border, the “two sides shall deal with them through meetings and friendly consultations between border personnel of the two countries.”

1996: It was agreed that “neither side shall use its military capability against the other side.” India and China also established protocols for preventing intrusions on the border, including air intrusions.

2005: India and China decided that “differences on the boundary question should not be allowed to affect the overall development of bilateral relations.” The agreement also established that the “boundary should be along well-defined and easily identifiable natural geographical features to be mutually agreed upon between the two sides.”

2012: The agreement established a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), which would ensure peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas. The WMCC held 14 rounds of talks between 2012 and 2019. However, the mechanism was not intended to be used to discuss resolution of the boundary question.

2013: India and China laid out ways to implement border defense cooperation, which included sharing information and increasing meetings.

Chinese Aggressions at the LAC
Despite these multiple rounds of talks, the border question remains unresolved. China and India have only exchanged maps of the middle sector, and China remains ambiguous in its border claims, thwarting any resolutions. Furthermore, despite the existence of CBMs, Chinese transgressions and incursions continue. Most notably:
  • In 1956, China built a road (national highway or G219) through the disputed Aksai Chin, connecting Tibet with Xinjiang.
  • In 1967, clashes occurred at Nathu La and Cho La, leading to the Second Sino-Indian war.
  • In October 1975, per the Indian government, a patrol of the Assam Rifles comprising a non-commissioned officer and four other soldiers was ambushed by about 40 Chinese soldiers in an area well within Indian territory which had been regularly patrolled for years without incident. A CIA cable notes “that the Chinese were ‘penetrating’ Indian territory; and that the penetration implied a ‘change in China’s position’ on the border question.” This incident also marks the last time shots were fired at the LAC.
  • In June 1986, Chinese incursions occurred in Sumdorong Chu valley.
  • In April 2013, before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s state visit to India, Chinese incursions occurred at the LAC. A PLA paramilitary unit put up tents and an administrative base 19 km inside the area India considers the LAC at Raki Nala in Depsang plains. Chinese officials denied any trespassing and claimed the land as theirs, resulting in a standoff in Daulet Beg Oldie and Chumar.
  • In September 2014, India and China locked horns in a standoff at Demchok, with the backdrop of President Xi Jinping’s visit to India. The standoff was ignited by the Indian construction of a canal in response to a request for waterworks in the region by residents of Demchok. The Demchok and Chumar standoff is notable because the “Chinese were trying to alter the ground situation by demanding to stop a civil work under MNREGA scheme and by trying to build a road in Indian territory across the international boundary (not LAC).”
  • In September 2015, Indian troops and the PLA faced off in Burtse after Indian troops destroyed a watchtower the Chinese were building on the mutually-agreed patrolling line.
  • In 2017, India and China were locked in a 72-day standoff in the disputed Doklam region claimed by both Bhutan and China.
  • So far, 2020 has seen the Chinese opening up multiple fronts with India along the LAC. At the heart of the issue have been Chinese concerns with India’s long-delayed infrastructure-building activities on the Indian side of the LAC. Indian and Chinese troops have reportedly clashed in at least five flashpoints: Naku La in North Sikkim and Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Hot Springs, and Depsang Plains in Ladakh. Although no shots were fired, the clashes turned bloody in Galwan; 20 Indian soldiers were killed, along with an unconfirmed number of Chinese deaths. The standoff continues well into its third month, even as senior commanders of the two sides met three times in June. Diplomatic engagements are continuing in parallel, and a meeting of the WMCC was held on June 24. The two countries’ SRs had an emergency phone consultation on July 6.
Transgressions are becoming common between the two countries. Per India’s Ministry of Defence, “the number of transgressions in 2017 ha increased from 2016 indicating PLA’s assertiveness and sensitivity to its claims on the Northern Borders.” Although transgressions decreased in 2018, there were still about 1,025 transgressions between 2016 and 2019. Transgressions picked up again in 2019, and multiple fronts opened in 2020. The intensity and duration of standoffs are also increasing, even if there are no shots being fired. Chinese assertions over neighbors’ territorial claims are also growing more frequent overall.

One region where China’s invigorated expansionism has worsened relations with India is at Doklam, the disputed territory claimed by China and Bhutan, which lies close to India’s own border with both nations.

Doklam
The Doklam Plateau; boxes A, B, C, D indicate areas of analyses.

CSIS prepared imagery analysis covering activity on a portion of the Doklam Plateau (also known as Zhoglam or Donglang) during the three years from 2017 to 2019. The Doklam Plateau lies at the junction of the Bhutanese, Chinese, and Indian borders and is considered to be Bhutanese territory by most of the international community. China, however, has repeatedly expressed territorial claims over the area and has undertaken large-scale encroachment activities, as shown in the imagery in this brief.

The Trijunction Point (Batang La) between China, Bhutan, and India. China is present in Doklam.

Same area; image from 2019. China is present in Doklam. Indian military post at Doka La lies to the left.

The Dispute
The Doklam dispute is grounded in the Chinese belief that the “Thibet-Sikkim Convention [sic], 1890” settled the border issue (the Chinese have been selective in their renunciation of British treaties). However, Bhutan was not party to the 1890 convention. China holds that Mount Gipmochi is the trijunction point, while the Indian and Bhutanese governments claim the trijunction point is near Batang La. Despite claiming Gipmochi as the trijunction point, the Chinese have been reluctant to formally articulate their view on the location of Mount Gipmochi. The confusion is amplified by the existence of Mount Gyemochen near Mount Gipmochi, thereby complicating the location of the real Gipmochi and Chinese claims. The 1890 convention does not provide any maps, nor was any survey done, which leaves much to the imagination. The first survey of the Bhutan boundary and the first official map of Bhutan were made with the help of the Survey of India; the Bhutan-India boundary was demarcated in 1963, with boundary pillar work completed by 1971. According to Indian and Bhutanese maps, Doklam is part of Bhutan’s territory, with the trijunction about 200 meters from Batang La. The Indian-Bhutanese claim is “based on actual surveys which show that that it the true water-parting point between the Teesta and the Amo Chhu.”

Since China has raised claims to Bhutanese territories, India and Bhutan contend that the convention only settles the boundary “on the basis of alignment.” China has agreed to this, accepting the watershed principle and committing itself to maintaining status quo per the 2012 Common Understanding between the Indian and Chinese SR.

Chinese Change in Status Quo
The Doklam 2017 standoff was not the first time that People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops have transgressed in this region of Bhutan. However, the most recent standoff is particularly relevant due to its strategic implications: “the PLA came with the objective of changing the status quo because they came in substantial numbers and brought along construction equipment with them.” The Doklam standoff became the longest such confrontation between the two countries in modern times.

Owing to the persistent Chinese transgressions, Bhutan wanted border issues with China to be raised as early as 1961 during the Sino-Indian border talks. By 1981, Bhutan announced its intention to directly engage China over the boundary question. The first round of talks on the matter was held in Beijing in April 1984; since then, Bhutan and China have had 24 rounds of talks. Until the fifth round of talks, the Bhutanese delegation was led by the Bhutanese ambassador in New Delhi. In the fifth round of talks, Bhutan and China reached an agreement on the guiding principles for the settlement, and once these were established, substantive talks began by the sixth round in Beijing in 1989. The official map was given to the Chinese at this sixth round of talks. The last boundary talks were the 24th round, held in Beijing on August 11, 2016. The 25th round of talks were expected to take place in 2017 but did not happen.

The most notable breakthroughs in the boundary talks happened with the 1998 agreement between China and Bhutan on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility Along the Sino-Bhutanese Border Areas. Both parties agreed that “prior to the ultimate solution of the boundary issues, peace and tranquility along the border should be maintained and the status quo of the boundary prior to March 1959 should be upheld, and not to resort to unilateral action to alter the status quo of the border.” Subsequently, in 2012, India and China reached a Common Understanding between their SRs, determining that “the tri-junction boundary points between India, China and third countries will be finalized in consultation with the concerned countries. Any attempt, therefore, to unilaterally determine tri-junction points is in violation of this understanding.”

China’s actions in Doklam are in violation of the 1988 guiding principles, the 1998 agreement, and the 2012 understanding. Chinese actions since Doklam have caused “a significant change in status-quo on the ground with serious security implications for India and amounted to unilateral determination of the tri-junction point between India, China and Bhutan.” The settlement of the India-China boundary issue remains elusive; China, however, has disregarded all existing conventions and laid claim to Doklam. As our new satellite imagery shows, there is strong evidence that China considers these moves permanent.

India: Bhutan’s Security Provider
India and Bhutan share a “special relationship,” with close geographical and religious-cultural ties. India plays a crucial role in Bhutan’s economic development, remaining its largest development partner. Bhutan has been perceived as a quasi-protectorate of India, with India handling its foreign affairs and controlling its arms imports—an understanding formalized in the 1949 Treaty of Friendship. In 2007, this treaty was updated to reflect contemporary values, and an element of equality was added, stating that both countries “shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither Government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other.” Bhutan did not have any diplomatic relations with China until 1991, relying solely on India to engage on its behalf. Even today, China and Bhutan do not have a formal bilateral diplomatic relationship; communication between the two countries occurs primarily through the Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi.

On June 16, 2017, the PLA began constructing a road in Doklam—the disputed area controlled by Bhutan—unilaterally changing the status quo. The Indian army had to intervene to protect Bhutan’s territorial integrity. It is worth noting that beyond securing Bhutan’s security and sovereignty, Indian intervention was also guided by its own interests, as the Chinese move had security implications for India: to the south of Doklam is the Jampheri Ridge, which overlooks India’s Siliguri Corridor—the vital connection link to India’s northeastern states.

The Doklam standoff was a unique opportunity for India to prove its emerging role as a bulwark against Chinese westward expansionism. After a 72-day face-off, Indian and Chinese troops disengaged. Per a Lok Sabha Committee report:
After the disengagement process, the Chinese troops, equipment and tents were removed from the face-off site, while our troops returned to positions. This effectively addressed a challenge of potential road construction activity by China in Southern Doklam and a concern about China's unilaterally pushing the tri-junction points southwards. At the end of the day we believe that it was triumph of diplomacy and political maturity.

Since the standoff, there have been continued media reports of Chinese presence in the Doklam region. However, the Indian and Chinese governments have both categorically denied any change in status quo in Doklam. The Lok Sabha Committee seemed unconvinced about Chinese intentions and actions in Doklam, and noted: “while dealing with China, it is always better to have a sense of ‘healthy skepticism.’ The Committee would, therefore, urge the Government not to let its vigil down in order to prevent any untoward incident in future.” Despite the Indian government’s position, the Ministry of Defence’s 2019 annual report confirmed the PLA presence in Doklam, stating that “post the disengagement on August 28, 2017, after the 72 days standoff at Doklam, troops of both sides have redeployed themselves away from their respective positions near the face-off site. The strength of either side has, however, reduced. The Indian Army is continuously monitoring Chinese activities in the area and is adequately prepared to respond to any contingency.” General Bipin Rawat, then chief of army staff, had also indicated the PLA’s continued presence in the area, even after the standoff formally ended.

Imagery Analysis (2017–2019)
Analysis of satellite imagery indicates that Chinese activity in Doklam to date consists of extensive road construction and the establishment of a network of small military facilities, defensive fighting positions, and helicopter landing pads.1

Same area; image from 2019. Chinese defensive positions, ongoing construction activity, military base development, paved roads, and well-developed helicopter pads.

Same area zoomed in; image from 2019. Chinese helicopter pads.

Same area zoomed in; image from 2019. Paved road, basketball court, and military base under development by the Chinese.

Construction is apparently being undertaken primarily by military units—likely with the assistance of some civilian contractors—as indicated by the predominance of camouflaged structures and military-type vehicles seen throughout the imagery. This construction activity has been undertaken in some of the most challenging terrain in the world, as indicated by the altitude and numerous (one might say tortuous) road switchbacks to accommodate the extreme steepness of the terrain.

Chinese road switchbacks in Doklam; made to accommodate extreme steepness of the terrain. Image from 2019.

Same area zoomed in; image from 2017. Only defensive positions present.

Same area; image from 2019. Chinese ongoing road construction.

Chinese ongoing road construction and recently installed concrete batch plant in Doklam. Image from 2019.

Same area zoomed in; image from 2019. Chinese ongoing road construction and recently installed concrete batch plant in Doklam.

The observed Chinese activity has developed along three axes: (1) west, toward the trijunction point where the Bhutanese, Chinese, and Indian borders are generally accepted by the international community to meet, (2) southwest, toward the Doka La peak, and (3) south, in the general direction of Gyemo Chen.2 Preliminary analysis suggests that this activity follows a general pattern:

    • Extension of the Chinese road network to the Bhutanese border;
    • Extension of these road networks across the Bhutanese border into the Doklam Plateau area;
    • Establishment of small Chinese military bases and defensive fighting positions;
    • Construction of helicopter landing pads;
    • Paving of the newly graded roads; and
    • Further expansion to the southwest and south.
To date, no large military facilities have been constructed by the Chinese in the area under study. However, satellite imagery taken in 2018 and 2019 shows that an excavation area of approximately four hectares has been undertaken near the Chinese border on the southern axis (27.316316° by 88.953954°). The size, layout, and location of this excavation suggests that it could be used for the establishment of a larger military-related facility. The validity of this supposition, however, requires future observation and study.

Chinese ongoing excavation for large facility in Doklam. Image from 2019.

While no helicopters or heavy weapons (e.g., tanks, armored personnel carriers, or artillery) have been observed in any of the imagery analyzed for this report, the imagery still indicates that, from a military standpoint, the Chinese have made excellent use of the terrain in siting their installations, defensive fighting positions, helicopter landing pads, and bases. The size, distribution, and layout of the Chinese activity indicates that they view their activity on the Doklam Plateau to be for the long term, if not permanent.

Another basketball court built by the Chinese in Doklam, indicating permanent presence. Image from 2017.

Same area; image from 2019 showing considerable development. SLIDE 20

U.S.-India Defense Cooperation
As outlined in this report, the India-China military standoff at Doklam in 2017 was not an isolated event; border tensions have increased over time. This presents an opportunity for the United States to widen the lens in terms of how it thinks of its emerging defense relationship with India. India is playing a greater role in contributing to security and stability in its own neighborhood. U.S. support for this role will require continued attempts to carve out unique steps that will strengthen India’s capabilities while enhancing the U.S.-India strategic partnership.

India’s nuclear tests in the spring of 1998 were both a low point in the relationship as well as a launchpad for the strategic partnership the two nations enjoy today. While triggering onerous sanctions against India, the tests forced the United States to think more deeply about India’s growing power, the overlap of the two nations’ respective values, and shared security objectives in the region.

Over the last 20 years, the United States has taken many important steps to expand defense cooperation with India. Each involved senior-level leadership in the U.S. administration and forced the United States to think deeply about their long-term vision for the relationship.

Among the highlights:

Beyond specific bilateral initiatives, the United States has also played a crucial role in helping secure India’s membership in global nonproliferation regimes. Despite some hurdles—mainly presented by China’s intransigence—India is now a part of three of the four main global nonproliferation regimes, including the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group. The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is the only regime India is not yet a part of.

Some of the steps outlined above are generally reserved for the United States’ closest security partners, such as those holding STA-1 status. Some are more general in nature, such as the “Enabling/Foundational” agreements, which nonetheless demonstrate a strong directional willingness of the United States to tangibly improve defense ties with India. But other steps are truly unique—initiatives created only for India—such as the IRRC and the DTTI. Another step the United States has taken falls into a similar camp, where the United States voluntarily pushed ahead with allowing technology release for defense platforms that India desired but for which it had not yet offered a formal procurement process. Accelerating such approvals without a formal request to buy from India takes energy and some amount of political capital within the U.S. government agencies that have a hand in such processes.

Given these unique programs, a question often comes up in Washington: when will the United States see the benefits of all this heavy lifting? In other words, when will India take up its role as a “net provider of security in the region?” Otherwise, how can the United States continue to press forward with offering groundbreaking programs and technologies to India but not to other nations?

India does not often talk up its own actions, but the list of its security initiatives is growing. For example, India was the first major nation to publicly raise concerns about China’s One Belt, One Road program. India helped organize refugee missions out of conflict zones, notably Operation Raahat, which evacuated international citizens from Yemen in April 2015. But the most striking instance was India’s defense of Bhutan’s territorial integrity during the fall 2017 standoff with China in the region where the Chinese, Bhutanese, and Indian borders merge.

Reports indicate that the United States was willing to find ways to support India’s position during the 2017 standoff as well as the more recent border tensions, but India demurred, preferring to handle the situation directly. Still, U.S. defense cooperation with India has directly boosted India’s ability to handle such confrontations, and this will only increase in the future.

    • Defense Sales:S. sales of key defense platforms such as the CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter increase India’s mobility in difficult terrain. Today, the Indian air force operates 15 Chinook helicopters; the first was delivered just a year ago. Apart from moving troops and weapons into tight spaces, the Indian government wants to leverage the Chinooks’ heavy-lift capabilities to support the construction of infrastructure along the border. The M-777 “ultra-lightweight” howitzers supplied by BAE Systems again assist the Indian army with mobility and firepower. BAE Systems will supply 145 howitzers to India, with domestic production underway.
    • Enabling/Foundation Agreements: The defense-enabling agreements outlined above will allow the United States to assist India’s military capabilities, including along the border. For example, the COMCASA agreement will allow the United States to sell India more advanced detection systems, while the BECA will allow the United States to share classified geospatial information and technologies.
    • Joint Exercises: Launched in 2004, the annual Exercise Yudh Abhyas focuses specifically on mountain warfare.
If the United States only considers a narrow list of threats to be the scorecard against which to rate India’s effectiveness as a security provider—for instance, China’s expansionist tendencies in East and Southeast Asia or the fight against the Islamic State—it may take much longer to see a payback for U.S. efforts. But if the United States instead considers India’s existing role in pulling South Asian nations out of China’s orbit and in defending the territory of smaller nations such as Bhutan, then India is already stepping up in meaningful ways.
 
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RISING SUN

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India Stops Oil Purchases From China
Indian refiners have stopped buying crude oil from Chinese sellers, according to a Reuters report that cited unnamed sources.

The move, according to the report, comes as a result of new legislation passed by Indian lawmakers that aims to restrict imports from the country's neighbors after bilateral relations with China deteriorated following a border clash that involved fatalities on the Indian side.

Earlier this month, Indian refiners stopped chartering Chinese-owned or China-flagged tankers for oil and fuels, according to a Bloomberg report, also citing unnamed sources.

Vessels owned or registered by China were prohibited from taking part in tenders for oil tankers that import crude oil into India or export refined petroleum products out of India, Bloomberg's sources said, adding that Indian state oil companies had plans to ask that oil traders did not use Chinese vessels for delivering oil to them.

Chinese-Indian relations have never been warm, to say the least, because of a long-standing dispute regarding where exactly the border between the two should pass. Flare-ups have not been infrequent, but the latest one that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers has become the most serious in five decades.

The oil import move is the latest in a series of steps taken by India in response to the increased bilateral hostility. In late June, before the import-restricting legislation passed, India's government said it would be checking power equipment coming from China, citing cybersecurity concerns. The tanker restrictions then followed, and ultimately the reported suspension of crude imports followed that.

The new export-from-neighbors legislation, Reuters explains, requires that any seller wishing to take part in an oil tender coming from Indian refiners must register with a department in India's ministry of commerce. Even though China does not export crude to India directly, Chinese trading firms are among the biggest oil traders globally.
 

RISING SUN

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Hitting China Where it Hurts Most: Choking Xi Jinping’s Signature Belt and Road Initiative
Twenty four Chinese state-owned enterprises were added to the Entity List by the US Department of Commerce on Wednesday. This list now includes China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and some of its subsidiaries. The reason cited for the licensing restrictions by the US State Department is that the company indulged in malign activities in the South China Sea.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “CCCC led the destructive dredging of the PRC’s South China Sea outposts and is also one of the leading contractors used by Beijing in its global ‘One Belt One Road’ strategy. CCCC and its subsidiaries have engaged in corruption, predatory financing, environmental destruction, and other abuses across the world.”

The move has drawn a sharp reaction from Beijing, with the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian saying that “China will take firm measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate interests of domestic enterprises and individuals.” He also added that “the US action has grossly interfered in China's internal affairs, violated international law and basic norms of international relations, and is completely hegemonic and power politics. China firmly opposes this.”

The reaction is sharp because it is clear that subjecting CCCC to specific license requirements for the export, re-export and transfer of specified items could also hit China where it hurts most – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Strategic analyst Brahma Chellany told News18.com, “This could have a bearing on BRI projects because Washington DC could exert pressure on other countries not to deal with the sanctions-hit Chinese companies.”

Often cited as Xi Jinping’s signature initiative, the BRI, which was earlier called One Belt One Road, was conceived in 2013. In the 40th year of Reform and Development in 2018, it was the BRI that was projected as being at the forefront of the change that the Xi regime would bring about in China since 1978.

But by then concerns about the BRI were already emerging. India rejected attending the first BRI summit in 2017 a night before the event in Beijing citing a strong objection to the flagship project under BRI, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said, “No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.” CPEC passes through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

Strategic analysts are of the opinion that China is passing off these projects as infrastructure development initiatives that will benefit the host country but are indeed nothing but strategic assets. The risk of many of the countries being caught in a debt trap is now most real.

In fact, the US China Economic and Security Review Commission in 2018 had also raised some red flags clearly stating that “strategic interests are central to BRI, even though the Chinese government denies that BRI advances its geopolitical ambitions.”

It had also said that “despite Beijing’s rhetoric about BRI being open and inclusive, Chinese state-owned enterprises are winning the lion’s share of contracts for BRI projects.” The CCCC being one of the biggest beneficiaries, as is stated now in the state department release.

As per details on its own website, the CCCC is the “largest port construction and design company in China, a leading company in road and bridge construction and design, a leading railway construction company, the largest dredging company in China and the second largest dredging company (in terms of dredging capacity) in the world.”
From the Gwadar deep water port in Pakistan to a port city project in Colombo, the CCCC has several strategic overseas projects around India and the Indo-Pacific region.

In fact, apart from the US even the Australian federal government is set to pass a legislation next week that can scrap any agreements by state governments with a foreign country. The Victoria government has signed on a project under the BRI last year and it is largely believed that the Scott Morison government will use the legislation to scrap that project or any other to weaken China’s BRI move in Australia.

The Australian govt press release said, "Under the reforms, the Foreign Minister will have the power to review any existing and prospective arrangements between state and territory governments and all foreign governments. Arrangements that adversely affect Australia’s foreign relations or are inconsistent with our foreign policy could be prevented from proceeding or terminated."

Reacting to the news, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “The Australian side should treat China-Australia cooperation and the "Belt and Road" initiative in an objective and rational manner, and not create artificial obstacles to normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia.”

Apart from concerns of security in Indo-Pacific vis-à-vis China, Australia has been locked in a feud with Beijing ever since it moved a resolution in the World Health Organisation in March along with EU to seek a probe into the origin of the Novel Coronavirus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking all this as a direct affront, the Chinese government in retaliation slapped trade restrictions announcing tariffs on barley and banning beef import from some Australian firms. China is Australia’s biggest trading partner and it used the platform to hit back at them. Meanwhile as part of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing group, Australia has also banned Huawei from participating in its 5G network.

Former Indian diplomat and one who served as India’s ambassador in one of the Five Eye countries Canada, Vishnu Prakash also believes that these decisions with regards to BRI could be significant. He told News18.com, “After turning a Nelson's eye for many years, the US secretary of State termed Chinese claims on South China Sea as ‘completely unlawful’. The recent decision to place 24 Chinese companies, mostly state owned enterprises, including the massive CCCC in the entities list, is a logical step forward. These companies have been serving as the implementation arm both in South China Sea and BRI. If nothing else it would certainly act as a speed bump in Chinese ambition of global dominance.”

A possible squeeze on Xi Jinping’s pet project, Belt and Road Initiative, has for now only drawn a sharp reaction but the sheer significance of the move is unlikely to allow Beijing to sit still as it has the potential to prevent it from looking out for bigger emerging markets for trade and expanding its military reach and geopolitical influence.
 

Hydra

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You are quoting a chinese agent in India
Man, we need to.listen what our enemies are saying also. In imperial era, when there was no radios exist people used to sent messengers to the enemy nations to convey or inform things, the receiving sisde used to listen those messages and do proper actions. Pravin is a chinese agent and we need to listen him to know tge otger side versions.
 
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_Anonymous_

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China hikes prices of key drug ingredients