The standoff between India and China soldiers in the Dokalam area could be part of China’s “salami-slicing” tactics of making “inch-by-inch” changes to the status quo to slowly gain a strategic mile, a top American expert has said.
China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Dokalam area of the Sikkim sector near the Bhutan tri-junction for over three weeks after a Chinese Army’s construction party attempted to build a road.
“I am concerned about the standoff on the border, as obviously are so many in India,” said Alyssa Ayres, a former State Department official under the Obama administration.
Currently, a senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, Ms Ayres said this forms a part of the larger Chinese tactics as seen in the disputed South China Sea.
She said this was a new example of China looking to take “a tactical inch over and over again to slowly gain a strategic mile”. In the South China Sea context, observers have focused on China’s ‘salami-slicing’ tactics of smaller changes to the status quo, and that over time add up to something strategically significant,” she said.
“Is this now the Chinese approach to the border with India? Can’t be ruled out,” Ms Ayres said in response to a question. China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, despite partial counter-claims from Taiwan and several southeast Asian nations including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.