How India solved the Doklam standoff
It was an end to a tense standoff at Doklam. While China continued to spew venom against India through its media, India decided to maintain calm and find a solution to the problem instead.
For India the problem was a relatively new one. China was trying to reshape the boundary at Doklam and India sent its troops to a third country-Bhutan to defend its territorial rights.
Highly placed officials in Delhi say that the situation was not an easy one. China never sent any clear signals from day one. We have to keep in mind two aspects. They were a possibility of a military escalation by China and also the fact that we needed to defend Bhutan's rights at any cost. Had we yielded to pressure and pulled out of Doklam and let the Chinese continue with their construction, there was a good chance of Bhutan with whom we have a Friendship Treaty slipping into the hands of the Chinese.
Getting the Chinese to talk was not easy. The visit by National Security Advisor to China to attend the BRICS summit for NSAs opened the first channel of talks. It was important to convince China to speak first. China always insisted that India withdrew from Doklam first, while India insisted that it would be mutual.
When diplomatic channels opened up for the first time, almost a month into the standoff, India had to also deal with the situation on the other parts of the Line of Actual Control. China constantly threatened to open up its theatre of conflict on the other sides of the border and hence India had to ensure a high state of alert at all times.
As back channel talks gradually opened up, India also ensured that it did not let its guard down. India ramped up its military presence on one hand while on the other ensured that there was never any flare up.
Somewhere all along, China too gave signals that it would not want a flare up. However India needed to be cautious on this front as the Chinese were playing for their internal audience. It became clear that China was adopting the three step warfare strategy. This included- Media warfare, psychological warfare and legal warfare.
India continued to maintain calm and maturity all through. It was by Sunday that a breakthrough had been achieved. Both sides understood that the standoff is never ending. Moreover both sides wanted to ensure that ahead of next months BRICS summit, the standoff would have to end. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit China to take part in the summit and both he and his Chinese counterpart would want it to be only about BRICS.