In the Wake of Doklam: India-China Relations Entering a New Phase

Jabin T. Jacob, PhD, Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies

This article was originally published as,‘भारत-चीन संबंध नये दौर में, in Rashtriya Sahara, 29 July 2017. The original English version follows below the Hindi text.

भारत के राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा सलाहकार अजित डोभाल बीजिंग में ब्रिक्स देशों के राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा सलाहकारों की बैठक में शिरकत करने चीन पहुंच चुके हैं। सभी निगाहें इस तरफ हैं कि क्या भारत और चीन इस मौके पर भूटान के डोकलाम क्षेत्र में बने तनाव को समाप्त करने में सफल होंगे। लेकिन दोनों देशों के आधिकारिक बयानों पर गौर करें तो लगता है कि चीन किसी सूरत पीछे हटने को तैयार नहीं है। न केवल इतना बल्कि वह भारत के खिलाफ तीखे बयान भी दे रहा है। मांग कर रहा है कि उसके क्षेत्र, जिसे वह अपना होने का दावा कर रहा है, से भारत अपने सैनिकों को पीछे हटाए।

लेकिन इस मामले से जुड़े तय बेहद सरल-सादा हैं।

Continue reading “In the Wake of Doklam: India-China Relations Entering a New Phase”

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Doklam Reminder: Need for Indian Redial in South Asia

Shyam Saran, Member, ICS Governing Council and former Indian Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister’s Special Envoy

The standoff between Indian and Chinese forces at the Doklam plateau in Bhutan is now over a month old and though diplomatic efforts have continued, no early solution appears to be in sight. India’s national security adviser, Ajit Doval, is in Beijing for the BRICS NSAs meeting. It is possible that on the sidelines, he will be able to engage with Yang Jiechi, his counterpart in the special representative mechanism between the two countries. One should remain hopeful that these talks in Beijing will lead to a satisfactory resolution of the impasse and pave the way for relaxing tensions between the two countries. Confrontation will be damaging to the interests of both countries and is best not allowed to persist.

Such confrontation is also not in the interest of Bhutan, India’s neighbour with which there is a special relationship of mutual trust and understanding. The two countries have shared security interests, acknowledged in the revised bilateral treaty concluded in 2007. Any threat to Bhutan’s security will always be a major concern to India and similarly a security challenge to India will impact Bhutan as well. China’s encroachment on Doklam is often characterised as a security threat to India, particularly to the narrow Siliguri corridor linking India’s North-East to the rest of the country. But it is also a threat to Bhutan whose main communication links south also traverse the same Siliguri corridor. The action taken by Indian forces in Doklam is in response to a serious security threat to both countries. Continue reading “Doklam Reminder: Need for Indian Redial in South Asia”

Doklam – The Legal and the Bilateral

Jabin T. Jacob, PhD, Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies

The ongoing standoff between India and China in the Doklam area in Bhutan is the result of a disagreement over the terms of the 1890 Convention Relating to Sikkim and Tibet[1] signed by the colonial British government in India and the Qing empire in China.

Contrary to the Chinese stress today on “Mount Gipmochi on the Bhutan frontier” (Article I) as the beginning of the boundary between Tibet and Sikkim, India has pointed out that the specific trijunction point should be that point which adheres to the watershed as indicated in the same Article I of the Convention. Under the 2005 Agreement between India and China[2], the two countries agreed that “the delineation of the boundary will be carried out utilising means such as modern cartographic and surveying practices and joint surveys” (Article VIII) and that “[p]ending an ultimate settlement … the two sides should … work together to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas” (Article IX).

This clarifies several dimensions of this issue. Continue reading “Doklam – The Legal and the Bilateral”

India’s Uncertain Demographic Dividend

Jayan Jose Thomas, PhD, Associate Professor of Economics, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and Member, Planning Board, State Government of Kerala

A version of this article was originally published in Chinese as ‘印度不确定的人口红利’ [Yindu bu queding de renkou hongli], Diyi Caijing, 10 July 2017. This is part of a series by Indian scholars in China’s top business affairs news portal facilitated by the ICS. The English version follows below the Chinese text.

普遍的观点认为,印度将受益于所谓的“人口红利”。据世界银行估计,2010年至2030年间,印度15岁至59岁人口将增加至2亿多人。与此同时,包括中国在内的世界大部分发达地区的适龄劳动人口预计将会下降。也就是说,未来几年,印度会为全球劳动力供给的大幅增长贡献力量。

然而,实现人口红利对印度来说并不容易。首先,获得诺贝尔经济学奖的阿马蒂亚·森(Amartya Sen)指出,在卫生和教育领域,印度面临严峻挑战。2010年,印度的婴儿死亡率是每千名47例,而在中国,这个比例已减少到每千名13例。

对印度政策制定者来说的另一个重大挑战,是为新进入劳动力市场的印度人创造就业机会。事实上,大部分年轻劳动力的增长将来自印度最贫穷的地区,主要包括北方邦和比哈尔邦在内的北部和东部地区。 Continue reading “India’s Uncertain Demographic Dividend”

Bhutan: the ‘Missing’ Piece of the Puzzle

Jabin T. Jacob, PhD, Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies

In the latest faceoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Doklam area, the role and place of Bhutan has been easily overlooked. It is the Bhutanese after all that are contending with Chinese over the area and it is they who invited the Indians to take up cudgels on their behalf against the Chinese.

Bhutan is, in many respects, probably India’s only genuine ally in the region and this too, is largely the result of that country’s unique political history and development. The Bhutanese monarchy has played a key role in nurturing a close and beneficial relationship with India and India has in large measure reciprocated. While a tiny country, Bhutan has always been favoured with fairly senior and always competent Indian ambassadors in its capital and maintains the Indian Military Training Team in support of the Bhutanese army. Also worth remembering is the fact that it was to Bhutan that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his first official foreign visit after taking office.

That said, India should simply count itself lucky that it has managed to maintain a special place for itself in Bhutan’s international affairs for such a long time despite the vagaries of international politics. Continue reading “Bhutan: the ‘Missing’ Piece of the Puzzle”

China and the US Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change Agreement

Diki Sherpa, Research Assistant, Institute of Chinese Studies

After months of prevarication, United States President Donald Trump on 1 June 2017, pulled his country out of the historic Paris agreement on climate change – despite pressure from world leaders at the G7 summit. The agreement was adopted in 2015 by 195 nations, with 147 ratifying it—including the US, the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter after China. It was an initial bilateral agreement between the US and China that became a template for the Paris agreement.[1] It was built on the idea that by 2050, coal-fired power plants that contribute to half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions would be replaced by renewable energy.[2]

Being a non-binding deal, India pledged to cut its emissions by 30-35 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.[3] India, like other developing countries, is also meant to receive funds in order to switch to clean energy production. However, with America’s withdrawal,all these appear a distant dream. Continue reading “China and the US Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change Agreement”

Doklam: Understanding Chinese Actions in Bhutan

Jabin T. Jacob, PhD, Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies

Following the latest confrontation between China and India in the Doklam area of Bhutan, there is clearly an edge to the repeated Chinese calls to India to ‘immediately pull back’ Indian troops to their side of the boundary.

The Chinese have stressed that this ‘is the precondition for any meaningful talks between the two sides aiming at resolving the issue’.

What should Indians make of this and what should we look out for? Continue reading “Doklam: Understanding Chinese Actions in Bhutan”