It’s Sikkim’s turn now
May 19, 2008
China is now claiming a part of Sikkim. It is not even two years since the Nathu-La pass (which used to be the route responsible for all the trade with Tibet) was re-opened after several decades. China was assumed by India to have recognised Sikkim as an integral part of India, which it never did. Though we kept reassuring them about Tibet’s belonging to China, it never reciprocated the same on Sikkim. We were still dreaming that Sikkim was no issue of contention between us, only to wake up to China’s claim of a strategically important part of Sikkim referred to as ‘Finger Area’ by Indian Army.
China, as it is well established now, is building wide roads all along the Tibet-India border. This is a great threat to India, as China can very easily mobilise any amount of resources in case of a war. That is exactly what happened in 1962 war. India was in deep sleep; could never sense the construction of highways along the Arunachal border. And one fine day, Nehru was stunned by the Chinese attack. Bottomline: Highways and railways are extremely important modes of transport – in case of a war or otherwise, which India has never understood (Even today, many of the border areas are difficult to access).
And it is the same reason why China is claiming a part of Sikkim now. The ‘Finger Area’, as the name suggests, is a finger like projection into Tibet from Sikkim. This area is in the way of Chinese highway along the border. The highway has to pass through this ‘Finger Area’ to reach the other part of Tibet, since the altitude of the ‘Finger Area’ is same as that of the highway route and that, any deviation from ‘Finger Area’ will make the highway a costly affair.
See, how easy it is to solve its problem for China!
As usual, India is yet to react. Will let you people know if at all that happens. New Delhi has reacted, this time quite strongly! It has finally shown some spine by setting up permanent post in the area.