The Doklam standoff, which raised fears of military conflict between India and China in Sikkim sector, is over. But it is feared the Chinese may return. For the record, China’s People’s Liberation Army is still patrolling on its side of the so-called border at Doklam in Sikkim sector – soldiers have just moved back 150 metres from area. The end of Doklam standoff came as huge win for Indian diplomacy and embarrassed China, though authorities and media in Beijing tried to convince the world that India was forced to step back in Doklam.
India’s diplomatic win was also viewed positively by other countries, especially those who feel threatened by expansionist policy of China. Such countries may now look towards India for help. For now, New Delhi needs to be wary of China and find new and powerful friends internationally. In recent years, India has moved closer to the US. But New Delhi can’t completely rely on the US due to President Donald Trump’s unpredictable and inward-looking policies. Secondly, India can’t afford to be too close to the US as it will then risk losing old allies like Russia.
Apart from US, India is also moving closer to Japan. Christophe Jaffrelot, professor of Indian politics and sociology at King’s India Institute, says India-Japan partnership could be a cornerstone of a larger coalition of countries eager to resist China. On July 31, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, a project conceived together by India and Japan.
Japanese premier Shinzo Abe would participate in the foundation stone laying of ambitious Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train on Thursday, marking a new chapter in relationship between the two countries. Jaffrelot writes in The Indian Express, “Shinzo Abe, while inaugurating the line of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train on September 14, will probably reassert Japan’s will to build an ambitious strategic partnership with India.”
“This partnership could be the cornerstone of a larger coalition that may include other countries eager to resist China’s “string of pearls” in the Asia-Pacific region,” he says. Apart from laying the foundation stone for the Rs 1.1 lakh-crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, India and Japan will also sign 10 MoUs during Shinzo Abe’s visit to Gujarat. Interestingly, Abe is the second head of state to visit Gujarat after Chinese President Xi Jinping.