The only country that can realistically help India out of the Sikkim jam is Pakistan

Published: July 10, 2017
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China and India fought a brief war over their disputed Himalayan borders in 1962. PHOTO: BBC

Earlier last month, the Indian military showed up in the Dokalam region to stop the Chinese from building a road. This area falls under the Bhutan tri-junction which is a sliver of land where China, India and Bhutan meet.

The incident came into light when some Indian pilgrims, on their way to Tibet, were sent back to the border. Since then, both countries have been providing their own version of the same tale.

The eastern border of India with China is governed by an 1890 agreement brokered by the British. It has been fairly uneventful since then, except for the 1962 border skirmish between the two nations. Since the incident with the pilgrims, India and China have been ready to go at each other. While India maintains that it is acting on behalf of Bhutan, China accuses India of ‘ulterior motives’ and claims this territory as its own.

These events are happening against the backdrop of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit currently underway. This forum consists of the fastest growing economies in the world. What’s awkward though is that China and India are major participants in this forum.

Even as the Sikkim standoff heats up, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi praised each other and stated their resolve in combating terrorism. Both of them avoided any mention of Dokalam, which to be honest, is quite an interesting move.

From an outsider’s viewpoint, there are indeed some questions that need to be answered when it comes to both these nations.

While China is the big man on campus in the region, for the most part, its efforts have revolved around building its own economy. Unlike western powers, the Chinese are not in it to build empires. Even for something like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which seems like a takeover of Pakistan, the eventual goal is to transport goods to and from the Arabian Sea to China. Pakistan benefiting along the way is merely a bonus. If China was building a road in the Dokalam region, it may have been to provide better trade facilities.

Why the Bhutanese government felt threatened all of a sudden and why they didn’t take up the matter diplomatically is somewhat strange. The Indian media leads us to believe that China is a bully and gets its way by stepping over other countries in the region, yet that still does not explain why India chose to enter into a military standoff with China.

For starters, India fears that China may have designs to encroach over the region and gain more territorial control. That’s quite possible, but what motive does China have for doing so?

If you take a look at the Bhutan tri-Junction map, it is a tiny piece of land when compared to China. Even if China were to give the area any strategic importance, it would be justified given that PM Modi just bought American maritime drones to spy on China in the Indian Ocean. No harm in countering the Indian paranoia.

Another angle an Indian blog brought up was that India did what it did to show China that it was not the only might in the region. A noble act, albeit a foolish one. When I was in grad school in the US some years ago, I had an Indian  professor who took his marketing strategy class on a student trip to China. When he came back, I asked him,

“How was China? Was it similar to India?”

“Nowhere close. India is still at least 50 years behind China.”

While the professor meant this statement in terms of infrastructure and economy, the same goes for the military advancement as well.

Lastly, India has placed itself in a precarious position. If it withdraws its forces now, it would be succumbing to Chinese demands. Based on this, anytime a military skirmish or diplomatic row takes place with China, it will have to back off. It would also mean that China has superiority in the Doklam region and whether it was their original intention or not, China can just walk over and plant the Chinese flag in the region.

The Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, perhaps in a move showing bravado, had stated that India was ready for a ‘two-and-a-half front war’. The ‘two’ here being China and Pakistan and ‘half’ indicating internal conflicts. The paranoia against Pakistan rears its ugly head here again evident through the fact that India has to drag in Pakistan into every conflict that it has going on. If the general had kept up with global trends and history, even going back past 20 years or so, he may not have made such a brash statement.

India is witnessing a great business streak in their Information Technology (IT) industry. They have not only established themselves as leaders in the IT outsourcing industry, but are also on their way to becoming a manufacturer for American F-16 jets. The New York Times columnist Thomas Freidman famously presented the ‘Golden Arches Theory’ in his seminal work The Lexus and the Olive Tree.

According to this theory, no two countries that have a McDonalds chain will ever go to war with each other. Mr Friedman was of the view that any country with a McDonalds franchise had to have a stable and integrated economy, and it going to war would be detrimental to their economic well-being.

Finally, India is stuck in this position all by itself. Both the US and Russia will want to remain neutral in this scenario as none of them want to poke China. Ironically, the only country that can realistically help them out of this jam is Pakistan. Otherwise, India must withdraw its forces from the region and suffer all the consequences that come with it.

Muhammad Yamin

Muhammad Yamin

The author is a management consultant based in Toronto. He has a keen interest in international business, social enterprise development and application technology trends. He tweets @myamin325 twitter.com/myamin325

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Purna Tripathy

    are you really this intelligent?. keep your analysis to yourself and enjoy being a colony of china.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Unbelievable bragging from a citizen of failed state.you r too small a country to impact india china equation.you seem to be naive about the ground reality as well.india won’t let it happen coz ultimate aim of china is to occupy Bhutan.this is not nehurivian era when he allowed Tibet’s take over.this is modis era .every nefarious agenda will be thwarted no matter how powerful the enemy is.also you r not aware that Bhutan has no diplomatic relationship with china.my suggestion to you pakistanis is that pl control your excitement.i don’t see india and china fighting any time soon.rather this issue will be resolved diplomatically.Recommend

  • Bharatiya

    Wishful Thinking!!! This shows that no amount of Education in whichever University can never help a Pakistani to wake up to facts. The statement of an Army Chief on the country’s preparedness of war is “BRAVADO” , “Warmongering” and has a Paranoia regarding pakistan and only it can help us out, yaaaaawwwwnnnnn!!!
    And what is AWKWARD in sharing a group while having differences? Aren’t India and Pak part of SAARC? Recommend

  • Tom

    Pakistanis and their stories and analysis, no wonder they lose wars every time………muslim warrior terrorists…..Recommend

  • Alann

    “Ironically, the only country that can realistically help them out of this jam is Pakistan.”
    Nowhere throughout this article has the author mentioned how can Pakistan realistically help India out of this jam. The Chinese don’t even listen to what Pakistan says; they only do what is in their own best interests. Sometimes that means making use of Pakistan to try to block or reduce India’s influence on the world stage. And poor Pakistan becomes happy at such ‘friendly’ gestures of China.

    “Otherwise, India must withdraw its forces from the region and suffer all the consequences that come with it.”
    “Otherwise”? Do you think Pakistan is the America of Asia?Recommend

  • Anon

    “Ironically, the only country that can realistically help them out of this jam is Pakistan.”

    First help yourself dude………Recommend

  • Vineeth

    Looks like you haven’t been looking hard enough at the map friend. India has good reasons to be stubborn in opposing Chinese attempts to build the road at the disputed area, whatever be the level of sabre-rattling from Chinese side. Heard of ‘Siliguri corridor’ a.k.a ‘Chicken’s neck’? Its a tiny sliver of land that connects India’s seven north-eastern states to the ‘mainland’. The under-construction road would help the Chinese rush troops to the area in the event of war and threaten to cut off India’s access to its north-east and allowing it to gobble up Arunachal Pradesh with ease. India knows what its doing and what is at stake, and that’s why it hasn’t responded to the non-stop vitriol emanating from Chinese state media nor has shown any intention to withdraw. ‘Road for trade’ indeed. It is pertinent to note that that the threat would have been manifold higher if Bangladesh had still existed as Pakistan’s eastern wing. A simultaneous thrust from both ends, and India could have kissed its north-eastern states good bye. Thankfully it isn’t so.Recommend

  • Vineeth

    India’s fatal economic and military weaknesses vis-a-vis China is real, no doubt. It is the legacy of decades of myopic idealism and economic vision of Nehru and his successors. The new ruling dispensation is doing its best to plug the gaping holes in India’s defense and economy as the dragon has finally bared it fangs from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean after decades of ‘peaceful rise’. But persisting weaknesses does not mean India should cow down before the Chinese tactic of brow-beating to have things happen its way. Countries in the rim of South China Sea knows this Chinese tactic really well. Once you allow yourselves to be used as a door mat, the dragon would always treat you as one. Pakistan will definitely learn this lesson the hard way if it gathers courage to oppose a Chinese proposal. That would be the day they would realize how much better US was in its treatment of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Manish B

    What?… If Pakistan can and wants to help any country then I suggest Pakistan helps Pakistan. India and China will resolve the matter soon enough.Recommend

  • Tommy Gunn

    India & China are mature nations and will sort out their problems by themselves. Pakistan is nothing but a small pawn which likes to punch way above its weight quite often. The Pakistani PM recently did the same recently when he went to Saudi Arabia to resolve the conflict between KSA & Qatar but he was humiliated and put in his place by the Saudis. Pakistan needs to learn that when the big boys are talking, the little ones should keep their mouths shut & stand in a corner.Recommend

  • Kumar

    Tribune seems to follow rule that anything would be published as long as It is India bashing.Recommend

  • SuperNeo™

    Headline has no justification and only in last paragraph its repeated.
    ET is blog content is going down Recommend

  • Santosh Menon

    You have no idea what’s happening on the ground between India 🇮🇳 and 🇨🇳. Well, it’s understable that you are sitting in Toronto and writing this article. Maybe you should do some research about the real situation. Your last statement proves your ignorance. India can squeeze China with just one non-firing bullet: TRADE.Recommend

  • Rohan

    Pakistan should just stop sending terrorists To India.And if you use your brain you will know that china is in the wrong here not India but your blind love for chopsuey doesn’t helpRecommend

  • peter pan

    Now why would Pakistan want to help India evn if it could? ( which I do not think it has the power to so anyway).
    This is an example of the same thinking that Gen Ayub Khan showed when he proposed to Pundit Nehru that Pakistn and India should develop a joint Defense agreement against China!!
    Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Pakistani logic.

    Pakistani Military spending: $9 Billion

    Indian Military spending: $55 Billion.

    India will lose any border skirmish or war with Pakistan without a doubt, as clear as night and day.

    Chinese military spending: $200 Billion

    India will lose any border skirmish or war with China without a doubt, as clear as night and day.Recommend

  • Tughral

    Interesting perspective.Recommend

  • Vijay. H.N

    After all that background and explanation of the current situation (as perceived by the author), the author failed to discuss the subject at all. How is “The only country that can realistically help India out of the Sikkim jam is Pakistan”?Recommend

  • An Indian

    Dude, has Pakistan secured the funding for budgetary gap for this year? Pls go an attend to that first. Let men take care of the issues that concerns them.Recommend

  • rtnguy

    Lol if you dont know facts please dont speak on this issueRecommend

  • Ad

    Pakistan is irrelevant in this matter. An insignificant country in any case.Recommend

  • vivek

    The last paragraph is a nice jokeRecommend

  • Lallu Raam

    But how can Pakistan help them in this scenario ? What give and take will have to happen for that to be plausible ? That was left unexplained in this article.Recommend

  • Alex

    The construction of road is not for development purpose. It is a disputed land and why they build road in disputed land?? It is a clear sign of bully and changing the statue quo in the region. China knw Bhutan can’t do anything that’s why they built road in disputed region along with military. Obivously it will make India worried because the construction of road is just near Sikkim corridor( chickens neck) and china is up to something. Recently china made a statement in public saying if Indian military didn’t withdraw from that region they will support Sikkimese independence. That’s y Indian was staying firm because they knew china was up to something. They want to separate north east India from mainland. China supports terrorist in the region and also supporting Pakistan indirectly supporting terrorist as most terrorist resides in Pakistan and govt help them.Recommend

  • Tom

    India don’t need any help from you guys.Recommend

  • PK

    What a joke, Pakistan is able to help India??. Pakistan should first help itself. I will take this argument back to India – Pakistan problem. India could use this opportunity to fix China and demand that they vacate the disputed territory of Gilgit – Baltistan and Aksai Chin where their army is there currently. China cannot preach while they flout all rules.Recommend

  • SG

    Extremely low quality article.

    1. The event ongoing in Hamburg is G20, not BRICS, why would BRICS event be held in Germany which not a BRICS member?

    2. The last sentence Pakistan can help. “How” is not explained at all. Recommend

  • Harsh

    And how Pakistanis going to resolve this issue??Recommend

  • Waron Dafe

    Another cheerleader of china, i had been to china, china is developed in parts as in India and not as a whole there are still many places which are very poor and the chinese communist party does not allow foreigners there.Recommend

  • Milind A

    Pakistan should not meddle in this Indo-China dispute.. In the battle of elephants its the grass and small animals that get trampled. So stay clear.Recommend

  • Rajeev Pillai

    India don’t need any help from pakistan,You just help pakistan people and come out of terrorism,That will be the greate help you do for the worldRecommend

  • HUD HUD

    its ok to support master but losing self respect to support master is foolish idea.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    It was a bait to get Indian readers and apparently it worked. The article is sub standard. Make sure you do not read article from same author again.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Looks like all the hindus are here. Tearing their hair. Beating their
    chests, weeping, moaning in their pain.
    You can plainly see this in their comments.
    May Lakhshmi, Parvati, Ganesha and Hannuman bless you all.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Pakistan wants to be fortress of Islam. Islam’s existential enemy is China. The colonial power which created Pakistan to contain India, handed over it to the new super power which used Pakistan to defeat and destroy competing super power. What makes you think that this super power will allow you to slide into Chinese camp. You Pakistanis cannot survive even a month without its support through IMF, World Bank and honey deals on Gulf oil. This super power is losing interest since you are irrelevant in stopping India’s rise and its contentment. But ISIS/Taliban pasand Pakistani Abduls can be easily used as cannon fodder to hurt China in Xinjiang. China will retaliate and India is already fuming in anger. Your super power master’s populace hates you so much that they will force congressmen to put sanction on you. Pakistan’s survival over 6 months is not guaranteed. New Mosuls will be in Muridke & Peshawar.Recommend

  • wb

    A fly riding an elephant thinks it’s taller than elephant.Recommend

  • wb

    No dear. Only Allah blesses us. That’s why we won all 4 wars and you lost all four. Probably Allah hates Muslims and especially Pakistani Sunni Muslims.
    Recommend

  • welingkar

    Yeah we know what Pakistan can do to helpRecommend

  • Rajiv

    Typical comical article by a Pakistani.
    Why such articles are even allowed?

    Khud ka ghar to Sambhaltaa Nahin
    Duniya Jitne Nikle Hein

    hahhaRecommend

  • wb

    I told you Patwari, I’m an atheist Brahmin and you’re a Muslim. I’m infinitely more smarter than you’ll ever be. I’ll own you.
    My dear, why don’t you convert to be an atheist Brahmin?! Then, I can teach you the art of owning, the art of humiliation, the art of diplomacy, the art of bureaucracy, the art of pun, the art of logic and reason.
    Dear, if you want, I can baptize you to be an atheist Brahmin!!!! Yes, there’s no such thing…but I can invent one!!!! For you, my dearest, anything!
    Hahahahahahahahaha.
    Are you enjoying this, my dear Patwari?Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Inspite of BanditJi India is surviving. Recommend

  • http://thoughtsandotherthing.blogspot.fr/2015/09/hyderabad-as-i-know-and-feel.html Supriya Arcot

    Hmmm that explains the 20 odd blogs of mine rejected by ET.Recommend

  • Patwari

    This is what happens to hindus after 6,000 years of
    slavery under foreign rulers and Muslim masters.
    Babbling gibberish incoherently, praying to 975 gods,
    goddesses and their avatars, Setting up little mobile
    temples for Modi Sarkar. That are moved from road
    to road. Neighborhood to neighborhood. [got wheels]
    Praying to Yogi Adithyanath for salvation. Weeping uncontrollably at the sight of a cow. Claiming to be
    a Brahmini when Dalit/Adivasi is more likely the case.
    Oh well. That’s Hindustan for ya…….karma….Recommend

  • Patwari

    Now, now, now,….. Supriya…..!! 20 blogs you say!
    What exactly were you writing about? Gardening?
    Paris? London? Modi Sarkar? How to cook coconut
    chicken? For them to reject all 20….?
    [by the way love coconut chicken, on rice, it’s the best
    have watched Raja Rasoi aur anya Kahaniyaan, it’s about
    Hindustani Cuisine]Recommend

  • Patwari

    The last sentence is a gimmick!! Deliberately put there by blogger!!
    A trap set for all you hindus. The blogger succeeded in triplicate!!
    Kudos to him!!! Great job!! Just read yourself!!!
    Pathetic comments.Recommend

  • wb

    Oh my! So your puny brain understands the comments by Hindus? That’s impossible, given that you’re a Muslim!!! LOLRecommend

  • wb

    Now, now, now…come on Patwari…leave the lady alone and face me, dear. I’m your worst nightmare. An atheist Brahmin with an infinite IQ and an even bigger EQ.Recommend

  • TS

    Muslim are very new to this world, while the Hindu religion is more than 5000 years old. It originated at Indus, from which the word Hindu and Hindustani came. Probably, your ancestors were Hindu too. May be a little reading of History might helpRecommend

  • Desmond1026

    lmfao. Google trade surplus of these two countries then you’ll find out. Good luck and have fun.Recommend