Strategic Importance of Sikkim for both India and China

About Sikkim

Sikkim, one of seven sister states is smallest state in terms of population with 6 lakh people and second smallest in area. Capital is Gangtok. There are total 4 districts. It borders Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet (China).

Connectivity to India

  • A landlocked state connected by only one road link i.e. NH 10 (may be closed for sometime due to landslides).
  • Last year, Pakyong airport started in Gangtok, the only airport in Sikkim
  • A 52 km rail line between Sevoke of WB and Rangpo of Sikkim was envisaged. Though it was about to be ready by 2015 but got entangled in procedures. Now about to start in 2024.

Strategic Areas

Nathu La and Jelep La

These two passess connect Sikkim with Tibet. Nathu La opened in 2006 after being closed for 40 years.
China has invested a lot in western region. It has planned to extend Chinese National Rail network to the border with India. Nathu La will help China in connecting to Kolkata, the closest warm water port to Lhasa. India signed an agreement with china for an additional route to Mansarovar through Nathu La in 2015.

Siliguri corridor (Chicken neck corridor)

Strategic Importance of Sikkim for both India and China

It is a small land bridge connecting India with N-E states. It is 60 km wide and 200 km long. It’s a highly vulnerable area. China can get decisive advantage by cutting it in times of war. It’ll isolate our forces in N-E.

Chumbi Valley and Doklam

Strategic Importance of Sikkim for both India and China

Chumbi valley is located at tri-junction of India-China-Bhutan. It is close to Siliguri corridor. China have border disputes with Bhutan and it claims Doklam so that it can get a check and advantage over India by coming closer to Siliguri corridor. Actually as we know Siliguri corridor as Chicken neck. Chicken here is India and China want to get over India by getting hold over this “Neck”.

Root cause of all problems – Tibet

Strategic Importance of Sikkim for both India and China

According to Mao Zedong: Tibet is china’s right hand’s palm, which is detached from its five finger-of Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal. That’s why China wants to occupy/influence these five areas.
China’s claim over Tibet was never accepted by masses and India provided asylum to Dalai Lama. China feels threatened and insecure that’s why wanted to have a check on India. Moreover, Close religious contacts between Sikkim’s Buddhists and their Tibetan counterparts is a matter of concern for China.
Sikkim’s Rumtek monastery acts as a seat of Karmapa (an important leader in Tibetan Buddhism) whose position is presently disputed by two claimants.
Sikkim’s close proximity to Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and presence of people of Tibetan descent in Sikkim is also a matter of concern for China.

Conclusion

When China has been developing its infrastructure fast in the region, India is showing restlessness. China has built up road network near border areas and India even not have all-weather road in Gangtok. China is continuously tighten it’s grip over Tibet and after this it influence Sikkim. So, India has to be proactive and bureaucratic and procedural hurdles need to be curtailed to improve our strategic assets in Sikkim.


Hello, I am Mohd Kamran Ali from Aligarh,pursuing BCA. I’am a fitness freak and preparing myself for IMA. I’am an avid reader of fiction, non-fiction and GK too. With immense travelling, I have experiences of varied parts of India. With graduation, I am preparing for CDS, AFCAT and CAPF exam. I always had an urge to share my knowledge and experiences with defence aspirants and The Radical gave me a golden chance.

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The Radical - Information That Matters: Strategic Importance of Sikkim for both India and China
Strategic Importance of Sikkim for both India and China
Sikkim, one of seven sister states is smallest state in terms of population with 6 lakh people and second smallest in area. Capital is Gangtok. There are total 4 districts. It borders Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet (China). According to Mao Zedong: Tibet is china’s right hand’s palm, which is detached from its five finger-of Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal. That’s why China wants to occupy/influence these five areas.
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