A week ago I covered the fact a major world conflict was brewing between two Superpowers and that the media wasn’t telling you about it. Since then things have only gotten worse. The state-run Chinese media is now reporting the government will soon issue a final ultimatum date for the removal of Indian troops from the disputed area. Going farther the Chinese have stated that if the troops are not removed by this time they will face “annihilation” and that “India will be responsible for all the consequences.”
The final ultimatum date is unknown at this time but it is expected to be set as sometime before the annual BRICS summit occurring in China between August 31st and September 4th. Some have even begun to question if the annual Summit between the five largest emerging economies will even still occur with two of its key members in such open hostilities with each other. Others are worried the summit will lose its intended purpose with former rear admiral and current senior adviser to the China Arms Control Association Xu Guangyu stating, “The BRICS summit should be focused on cooperation between rising economies, not an emergency multilateral meeting for conflict mediation.”
Damning any attempts at a diplomatic solution thus far is that China has maintained a policy that India must first remove its forces as a pre-condition of talks. While India was open to the idea of a simultaneous pull back on both sides to allow for diplomacy, this proposal was rejected outright by the Chinese early on in the dispute.
The Doklam Border In a More Peaceful Past
Tensions and passions are so high now in China that, Director of the National Institute of International Strategy Ye Hailin has stated, “Even when India withdraws its troops from the Doklam Plateau, China will not let the matter drop, because withdrawal is just the precondition, not the solution”. Going further he added, “China would still make India pay for its offensive and provocative behavior even if India withdraws its troops as China requests.”
Chinese military leaders have also begun heavily pushing the narrative that India simply does not have the military muscle to match them if open fighting begins. I already provided a basic run down of the two nation’s military strengths in my prior article which can be seen here, but the bottom line is that while India can’t fully equal Chinese firepower. We are still talking about the 3rd and 4th most powerful armies in the world, and any combat between the two would still be a potentially catastrophic level event for the entire world.
To be clear, any actual fighting would likely begin with just what the Chinese government has called a, “small-scale military operation to expel Indian troops.” The real question then becomes how does India choose to respond if the Chinese push their limited forces out of the disputed area by force. As in that moment it will likely be the Indian leadership who has to decide what scale of conflict to pursue in this potential second border war with China. A second conflict between two nations who have both become military giants since the last time they fought.
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