India and china : a journey from Doklam to wuhan

  • Swagata Ghosh Associate Professor & Head Department of Political Science City College, 102/1 Raja Ram Mohan Sarani, Kolkata – 700009
Keywords: India, china, Doklam, wuhan


This paper focuses on the Doklam crisis and ends with Wuhan Summit and latter's impact on the subsequent development in Sino-Indian relations. It was the belligerent attitude of China and the stubbornness of India that had precipitated the Doklam crisis. The Chinese understood very well that India was obliged to support Bhutan as the two countries had special ties according to the Indo -Bhutanese Treaty of 1949 and the revised version of it in 2007. It had been alleged that the Chinese stated that the Indians had no right to interfere in the Sino-Bhutanese boundary talks and that is was not entitled to make territorial claims on behalf of Bhutan. On the other hand, India is not happy with a separate deal between China and Bhutan, and insists rather on a comprehensive settlement on the border disputes that include India, Bhutan and China.

The Doklam crisis was a reflection of the Chinese expansionist ambition. As the Doklam scenario worsened, India had briefed the Delhi based envoys of major countries on the deplorable situation arising from the on-going military stand-off between India and China. Beijing maintained its acrimonious attitude towards India asking the latter to withdraw immediately all troops from Doklam.


For details of Brahma Chellaney’s views, see The Times of India, Kolkata, July 3, 2017.
It has been officially settled through negotiation.

The Times of India, Kolkata, July 3, 2017

The ‘Siliguri Corridor’ is called, in military parlance, the ‘Chicken’s neck’ which connects mainland India with the north-eastern states of the country. Moreover, it is just 30 km wide at its narrowest point. The Chumbi Valley is akin to ‘a dagger’ pointing towards the ‘Chicken’s Neck’. China occupies a narrow strip of land in the Chumbi Valley with the areas controlled by India and Bhutan flanking it. For details see Frontline, Vol. 34, No. 15, July 22-August 4, 2017, p. 10.
China and Bhutan had already had 24 rounds of boundary talks and there was, in fact, an apparent unease in the small Himalayan Kingdom as its two giant neighbours square off each other at its door step. Senior Bhutanese Officials, as such, wanted the dispute to be settled through talks and mutual consultation between India and China. Ibid.

Cited in Frontline, p.13

Cited in ibid.

Cited in ibid., p. 4 .China and Bhutan had themselves signed an ‘Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility’ along the border in 1998. Cited in ibid., p. 10.

The Statesman, Kolkata, July 25, 2017. It was reported that there was some concern in diplomatic circles in New Delhi over India’s position. A diplomatic source said that what happened if the Chinese entered Jammu and Kashmir and said that they were doing so on behalf of Pakistan. Cited in ibid.

Xinhua quoted a spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defence Wu Qian saying at a Press Conference “We strongly urge India to take solid measures to correct its mistakes and desist from provocation.” Cited in ibid. See also The Times of India, Kolkata, July 25, 2017.

For a detailed discussion, see The Times of India, Kolkata, August 1, 2017

The clash between the Indian and Chinese Armies led to jostling and exchange of blows between soldiers of the two armies though no shots were fired. This was the first time since 2005 that this meeting on August 15 was cancelled. Another ceremonial meeting which used to be held on the Chinese side on August 1, the founding day of the PLA, was also not held that year. For detail on this, see The


Indian Express, New Delhi, August 16, 2017. Another report on this incident appeared in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, August 17, 2017.
For a detailed report and discussion, see The Times of India, Kolkata, August 29, 2017.

For detail, see Chellaney’s article in The Times of India, Kolkata, August 3, 2017



See The Sunday Statesman, Kolkata, August 20, 2017.

For a detailed report of the Wuhan Summit, see The Statesman, Kolkata, April 28, 2018; The Sunday Statesman, Bhubaneswar, April 29, 2018 and The Times of India, Kolkata, May 5, 2018.

Cited in “ From Doklam to Wuhan, 2018 will go down as watershed year in tasty India-China ties”,, accessed on25/04/2019., In 2017,the bilateral ties were deteriorated by the Doklam Crisis. New Delhi’s objection to CPEC and China’s pet project ‘Belt and Road Initiative led Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping to explore peaceful negotiations and bring about an overall atmosphere of mutuality of interests.

Xi commented at the summit : “I ‘ll be happy, if in 2019, we can have such informal summit in India.” The Chinese President viewed that he believed in future, and they could meet in a format like this from time to time.

See, for detail, The Sunday Statesman, Bhubaneswar, April 29, 2018.

The Times of India, Kolkata, May 5, 2018


Cited in The Statesman, Kolkata, April 28, 2018
Cited in “China India relations|South China Morning Post”,, accessed on 28/04/2019

See for detail “2018: Indo-China relationship back on normal track, some concerns remain”,, accessed on 28/04/2019.

The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, December 10, 2018. See also ibid., November 22 and December 20, 2018
The Hindustan Times, ‘Joint military drills will help neighbourhood ties’ (editorial), New Delhi, December 17,2018.


Beijing has so long opposed the international sanctioning of Jaish-e Mohammad head Masood Azhar numerous times over the past decade. But on May 1, 2019, Beijing’s support of the UN Security Council sanctions is a welcome development on India China relations. It conveyed its decision to lift the technical hold to the Pakistani Prime Minister on that day. See, “China-India relations | South China Morning Post,”, accessed on 03/05/2019 and The Statesman, Kolkata, May 3, 2019.

The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, February28, 2019

The Statesman, Kolkata, March 1,2019
As reported in The Statesman, Kolkata, April 29, 2019.