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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

China – India border row escalates

(7 July 2017)

China has demanded the withdrawal of Indian troops from a small area of disputed territory to end an escalating border row. China claims that Indian troops are occupying its territory, whilst both Bhutan and India maintain that the area in question belongs to Bhutan.

The current standoff began on 16 June when Chinese troops accompanied by construction vehicles and road-building equipment began moving south into what Bhutan considers its territory, to extend a border road through a plateau known as Doklam in India and Donglang in China. The plateau, which lies at a junction between China, the north-eastern Indian state of Sikkim, and Bhutan, is currently disputed between Beijing and Thimphu. India supports Bhutan's claim over it.

India is concerned that if the road is completed, it will give China greater access to India's strategically vulnerable "chicken's neck", a 20km (12-mile) wide corridor that links the seven north-eastern states to the bulk of the Indian landmass

Bhutan has asked China to stop building the road, saying it is in violation of an agreement between the two countries.

China has now released a map showing the site of the dispute and their territorial claims at the India-China-Bhutan trijunction where the three countries meet. China argues that its territory extends south to an area called Gamochen, while India says Chinese control ends at Batanga La, further to the north.