Line on the Border, Line in our Minds: Sikkim


Team Law Community
July 5, 2020

The previous post by the author, for The line in the border and the line in our minds "THE FIRST STAND-OFF OF 2020: PANGONG TSO LAKE"discussed the background of the standoff in Pangong Tso Lake and the claims by both side, along with the common terms so used by the diplomats and armies of the country for the region, concluding with the actual scenario.

This blog post will analyze the events in Sikkim that occurred on 09 May 2020. The readers will get an appraisal of the Sikkim Issue and the contemporary diplomatic and strategic position of it in the light of the Indo-China conflict.

Sikkim is now India

It is in 1975 that Sikkim signed an Instrument of Accession as other Princely states and merged into Independent India. Sikkim is a northeastern state and borders China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Siliguri Corridor with Bangladesh. It is a state of high mountains, and lakes on higher altitudes making it a strategic location for defence.

Despite Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's statement in 2005 about China's acceptance of Sikkim as India's inalienable part, (as claimed by India) China has not unequivocally affirmed Sikkim as part of India. The Sikkim border between the two Himalayan giants remains a source of tensions, and both sides have interests in Sikkim which are often at odds.

In the 1960s,Sikkim reemerged as a major concern for New Delhi in the aftermath of India's disastrous 1962 border war with China and the enthronement of a new Chogyal, Palden Thondup Namgyal, who sought full sovereignty for his Himalayan kingdom.The battle of 1962 witnessed close actions at Nathu La pass in Sikkim, and the 1967 clashes between Chinese and Indian armies underscored Sikkim's strategic importance as a key military point on the disputed border.

The non-recognized recognition

Ever since 1975, China showed in its map Sikkim as an independent state. It agreed for the new map showing it as an Indian state only in 2003 when India declared to consider Tibet as part of China. However, to date, there is no signed document of recognition by either party, thus, opening the doors for China's tension shots.


Leverage,not soundness or legitimacy

Border skirmishes between India and China are not unknown; however, China has leverage over India, as it claims and is alluring India to sign the Belt-Road initiative in light of given economic condition after the pandemic.

The standoff on 09 May 2020 however as reasoned by the security analysts is because of the infrastructural development now by India on the border threatening the Chinese intent to encroach the strategic leverage by adding tensions between Nepal and India.

There is a moment of tensions on the border. However, the news coverage of fist fighting or stone pelting on the border is denied by the Indian army officers. There are mounting tents over the north of the border in China, but India is ready as well.Moreover, as I write, diplomats from both countries are looking into peaceful solutions, and we will be bringing them to our readers in the coming posts.

The next post on the theme will be analyzing the further issue as to Nepal- India tensions, stay connected to read more. 

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