China and India, two nuclear-armed powers with a combined population of 2.7 billion, have been in an “eyeball-to-eyeball” military stand-off over territory in Bhutan, a kingdom in a remote area of the Himalayas, since mid-June. The flare-up, one of the most serious since China won a border war in 1962, comes as the two rising powers jostle for regional influence. The current dispute is near a three-way junction between Bhutan, China’s Tibet and India’s Sikkim.
1. Why is the area important?
All land-based military and commercial traffic between India’s northeastern provinces and the rest of the country travels through the narrow strip of land known as the Siliguri Corridor — also sometimes referred to as the Chicken’s neck. The Doklam Plateau — where troops are currently facing off — overlooks the corridor, which India defense strategists fear could be vulnerable to Chinese attack in case of a conflict. Continue reading