India has faced many challenges on foreign policy, but the Doklam controversy was one of the toughest challenges faced by the country in recent years. This deadlock lasted for more than two months has been successfully completed, and with this, two major powers of Asia returned from the war of a certain form. If the Doklam controversy had turned into a military conflict, then perhaps it would not have been possible to stop him. India went on the path of restraint and diplomacy and thwarted every move of China.
The issue of Doklam was similar in the case of Depansang of 2013 and events in Chumar in 2014. In all three incidents, China tried to change ‘ground reality’ to grab more land on the border. The only difference in the incident of Doklam was that China was entering this movement into the border of Bhutan. China’s intention behind this was to increase the dominance of the three countries by giving a new shape to the border. On the other hand, this incident was also different for India that it had to send its army to third country to protect its security concerns and to protect the Bhutan border.
India had to do three major things after successfully preventing the construction of road construction in Doklam by China. With the stand on the spot, preparing itself for China’s counter-attack, protecting the interests of Bhutan and protecting border sovereignty, under pressure from China. India first extended its military presence in the area. Preparations were done in such a way that it could be housed in the entire monsoon and winter season. Taking lessons from the war of 1962, India strengthened its presence in other parts of the LAC as India feared that China could do the same thing in other areas such as Doklam. Especially in such areas where India will not get geographical advantage like in Doklam.
On the other hand, the situation was difficult at the level of diplomacy. In an oral attack against India, China had started a psychological war in a way. It was the mind game of China in which he has mastered. Under its ‘Three Warfare Strategy’, China violates law, psychologically and by law through its government media. In recent years, China adopted this strategy with the Philippines. The result of this was that despite the historic victory against China in UNCLOS Tribunal, he had to bow down.
Taking the first step on the level of diplomacy, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a detailed statement on June 30. A similar statement was issued to Bhutan on June 29 shortly before. After this, for the next two months, the government did not make any kind of aggressive rhetoric. Even on China’s statements against Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and NSA Ajit Doval, India avoided commenting. India did not give any reaction to China’s media and army’s threat of war and the outspokenness of those who said themselves superior.
On the other hand, China had given its official media the complete exemption to inflame fire against India, but this strategy of China did not affect India. Even if India went to the same level and responded to China, it would have been trapped in the trap of China, but it did not happen. India, while keeping quiet, prepared its military preparedness. Meanwhile, negotiations between officials of India and China started in Beijing and New Delhi in Doha. From India, NSA Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Jaishankar and Vijay Gokhale were talking to Chinese officials.
After a brief meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, nothing special was achieved from the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Chunfing in Hamburg. Although there was so much in Astana that both the countries agreed that differences would not be allowed to form a controversy. The initial interaction between the officials remained unchanged as China was stuck on the point that India would have to call back its troops first. After this, Sushma Swaraj gave a big message to the Chinese in her statement in parliament that if both the forces withdraw from Dokmal, they will be approved by India.
In other words, India wanted that the situation in Doklam before the 16th June be restored, but China should not try to make roads or make any other changes. Both the countries were also very preoccupied with the fact that neither the soldiers of both could stand up against one another. This is the reason why despite being at the peak of the stress, there was no bullet on the border. It was a clear indication that both the countries do not want to take this dispute to the next stage.
Meanwhile, the whole world was watching the standoff between India and China as a tennis match. India had a feeling that if she bends, then her credibility among neighboring countries can be found in the soil. At the same time, India’s attempts to see itself in the ASEAN region in bigger roles were also a big setback. China has always been aggressive in this area, but at the end, bending ahead of India’s balanced diplomacy, it had to agree with both the forces to withdraw from Doklam together.