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China on Wednesday justified the construction of a road in the Sikkim sector, terming it as “legitimate” because it was being built on its side of the border where no other country has the right to interfere.
In a statement, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang referred to the 1890 Sino-British Treaty to justify their claim. “As per this treaty, the area over which the Indian Army has raised objection is undoubtedly located on the Chinese side of the border,” he said on Tuesday.
China also hinted that India was raising concerns on the behalf of Bhutan over the construction in Donglang area of the Sikkim sector. Donglang is located in a tri-junction close to the strategic area called Chicken’s Neck.
The Chinese authorities took a dig at India and said that the boundary between China-India with respect to Sikkim is settled and hence India has no right to object especially since Bhutan has no diplomatic ties with Beijing. “Donglang is part of China’s territory. This is indisputable. The Donglang area belonged to China since ancient times and it doesn’t belong to Bhutan,” Lu Kang told the media in Beijing on Wednesday. “If any third party, out of hidden agenda, interferes it is disrespect of the sovereignty of Bhutan. We don’t want to see this as Bhutan is a country entitled to sovereignty by the international community,” he added.
Lu also defended China’s decision to shut the Nathu La Pass in Sikkim which acts as a gateway to the Indian pilgrims who visit Kailash Mansarovar. “For a long time in the interest of India-China relations, China provided great conveniences to the Indian pilgrims. Based on the consensus between the two country leaders, and on the fact that the Sikkim sectors boundary is delineated and recognised by two countries, the Chinese side in 2015 opened the Nathu La pass for Indian pilgrims,” he said.
On being questioned about the reopening of the pass he held India responsible. “Now the suspension of the same is an emergency response to the situation there. I want to stress that the resumption of pilgrims pass requires necessary atmosphere and conditions. So the liability of the same totally lies on Indian side and when it will be reopened depends on the when or whether the Indian side will correct its errors,” he said.
When asked if there has been any progress in the talks between both the countries over the issue Lu said, “the Indian troops crossed the boundary at the Sikkim side to the Chinese territory.” He also added that India should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.
(With inputs from PTI)