Amid the ongoing fracas between India and China in the Sikkim sector, Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley hit back at Beijing for asking the Indian Army to learn from “historical lessons” and asserted that the India of 2017 is different from what it used to be 55 years ago. “If they are trying to remind us, the situation in 1962 was different and India of 2017 is different,” Jaitley said when asked about China’s warning.
In an oblique reference to the war the two countries had fought in 1962, China had on Thursday warned its neighbour that it should learn from “historical lessons” and asked India to withdraw its troops from the Donglong (called Doko La by India and Doklam by Bhutan) area as a prerequisite for “meaningful dialogue” to resolve the boundary issue.
The defence minister also blamed China for the current standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim sector. He said Bhutan had made it clear that the land in question belonged to it. “Bhutan government had issued a statement yesterday in which it made it clear that the land in question belonged to Bhutan. It is located near India’s land. There is an arrangement between India and Bhutan for giving security,” Jaitley told a local news channel.
The genesis of the skirmish between both the countries was China’s attempts to construct a road in the strategically key area of Donglong. However, the Indian Army had blocked construction of the road by China in the region, which is a disputed territory between China and Bhutan. Its link to the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction could give China a major military advantage over India.
Reflecting on the incident, the Ministry of External Affairs earlier in the day said, “India was “deeply concerned at the recent Chinese actions and has conveyed to the Chinese government that such construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India”.
According to reports, China had removed an old bunker of the Indian Army in Donglong by using a bulldozer after the Indian side refused to accede to its request.
With PTI inputs