ICS Conversation: Doklam Revisited

14 Sep 2018

Praveen Bakshi, DS Hooda, Ashok K Kantha, VP Haran, Sushant Singh

Venue: Seminar Hall, Kamaladevi Complex, IIC
Time: 6:00 PM



It is just over a year since the mutual disengagement of border personnel of India and China at the face-off site in Doklam was agreed to and announced on 28 August 2017. This ICS Conversation will look back at the Doklam face-off and its resolution, earlier stand-off situations as also broader issues relating to border management with China. The panelists will address diplomatic and military lessons India can draw from these incidentsand the way forward for the maintenance of peace and tranquility in border areas while safeguarding India’s vital interests. The panel will examine the post-Doklam trajectory of India-China relationship and its future prospects, including the likelihood (or otherwise) of an early boundary settlement. Bhutan’s relations with India and China against the backdrop of Doklam will also be discussed.

This conversation will feature the Eastern Army Commander who handled the Doklam incident last year, the Northern Army Commander and the Ambassador of India to China during the earlier Chumar and Demchok episodes of September 2014, a former Indian Ambassador to Bhutan and a senior journalist who has offered insightful coverage of these developments.

About the Speakers

Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi retired as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Command on 31 July 2017 after forty years of service in the Indian Army. He was responsible for the military response to the Doklam incident with China. He handled border defence and strategic military engagement with four countries (China, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh), internal security tasks as also strategic logistics and infrastructure development of the area. In his earlier career, he commanded an Armoured Brigade and a RAPID Division in the desert sector and a Corps in the plains of Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir. He also had a foreign tenure in Tanzania. He is currently accredited as a Distinguished Fellow with USI, New Delhi. 

Lt. Gen. DS Hooda retired as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command after forty years of service in the Indian Army. From 2012 to 2016, he was stationed in Jammu and Kashmir, first as a Corps commander and then as the Northern Army Commander when he handled numerous strategic challenges along the borders with China and Pakistan. He was the Army Commander during the Chumarand Demchokface-off situations along the India-China LAC in September 2014 and during the launch of surgical strikes against Pakistan in September 2016. As a Major General, he was responsible for counterinsurgency operations in Manipur and South Assam. His earlier assignments included serving as Chief Logistics Officer for the newly-raised United Nations Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea.He is currently accredited as a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi and also serves on the Advisory Boards of Cyber Peace Foundation (an NGO dealing with cyber protection and training) and Cyber Security Research Centre at Punjab Engineering College.  He is a regular contributor to newspapers, on-line media portals and professional journals.

Ambassador VP Haran was the Ambassador of India to Syria (2009-13) and to Bhutan (2013-14). He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1980 after working in the private sector in finance and accounts. He studied Russian in Moscow and was then posted in Kabul, Colombo, and Brussels, followed by his assignments as the Deputy Permanent Representative to WTO, Geneva and Deputy Chief of Mission in Kathmandu. His interests include relations with neighbours, developments in West Asia, primarily Syria, and international trade. He writes on Syria and Bhutan.

Ambassador Ashok K. Kantha is currently the Director of the Institute of Chinese Studies.  He was Ambassador of India to China until January 2016. Prior to this, he was Secretary (East) at Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. His previous assignments include High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka and Malaysia, Consul General in Hong Kong, Deputy Chief of Mission in Kathmandu, and Joint Secretary (East Asia) and Director (China) in Ministry of External Affairs.

Mr. Sushant Singh is the Deputy Editor of The Indian Express, covering national security, international relations, higher judiciary and other topical matters for the newspaper. Prior to becoming a journalist, he has served with the Indian Army for two decades, including a stint as United Nations Military Observer in Ivory Coast. He is also the author of 'Mission Overseas: Daring Operations by the Indian Military' (Juggernaut Books, 2017) and co-author of 'Note by Note: The India Story 1947-2017' (Harper Collins India, 2018). 



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