Takshashila Strategic Assessment: China, India and Doklam in 2020

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India’s conciliatory stance towards China in the aftermath of the 2017 Doklam crisis has led to a deterioration of the strategic situation at the India-Bhutan-China trijunction. Our analysis uses satellite imagery to show that:

  • With China being prevented from extending its constructions westward following the 2017 crisis, the axis of Chinese activity has shifted towards Southeast Doklam.
  • From 2019 onwards, China began to build roads and permanent structures along the Amo Chu River in Bhutan. This is a clear repetition of China’s South China Sea strategy of occupying territory through unilateral constructions.
  • The new sites are strategically significant, allowing China to potentially outflank Indian positions and threaten the Siliguri Corridor, acting as a permanent “threat in being” to India’s political leadership.
  • In the absence of a more decisive stance, India risks even more territorial incursions by China, which will further alienate traditional allies such as Bhutan.

Download the Strategic Assessment as a PDF.

China-India-Doklam-2020_TSA_GPM_AK_v1.0