Calling India’s actions at the Sikkim border a “betrayal”, China on Monday reiterated that the boundary section between the two countries was well demarcated. “The India-China boundary in the Sikkim section is well demarcated. The action taken by India is a betrayal of the position taken by the Indian governments,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a media briefing.
China also countered Defence Minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks saying that China of 2017, like India, is also different from 1962. “He (Arun Jaitley) is right in saying that India in 2017 is different from 1962, just like China is also different,” Shuang said.
Saying that China will take all necessary measures to safeguard its borders, it asked the Indian side “to respect the 1890 treaty” and immediately pull back the troops which have crossed into its territory.
It also accused India of using Bhutan as a “cover up” for the “illegal entry” into the Doklam area over which Bhutan has lodged a protest with the Chinese government. “In order to cover up the illegal entry of the Indian border troops, to distort the fact and even at the expense of
Bhutan’s independence and sovereignty, they try to confuse right from wrong, that is futile,” Geng said.
He said China has “no objection to normal bilateral relations between India and Bhutan but firmly opposed to the Indian side infringing on Chinese territory using Bhutan as an excuse.”
“The Bhutan side does not know previously that the Indian troops entered into the Doklam area, which is not in line with what is claimed by the Indian side,” Geng said.
Asked whether any talks are going on between India and China to resolve the Sikkim standoff, Geng said, “After the illegal entry of border took place, China has lodged solemn representations at different levels with the Indian side in Delhi and Beijing.”
“The line of diplomatic communication between two sides is open and smooth,” he said.
The Chinese and Indian security forces posted at Doklam, an area near the Sikkim border, are locked in a standoff for almost a month now. On July 2, the Indian Army rushed additional troops to the area to engage the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in a “non-combative mode”. This was in response to the Chinese transgression in Doklam where the PLA destroyed two Indian Army forward bunkers, claiming that India was violating its territorial sovereignty.
Releasing details of the events that preceded the current impasse, the Indian Army had said its troops prevented the Chinese servicemen and machines from furthering damage or transgressing into the area.
Additional forces from nearby brigade headquarters, located 20 km from the face off point, were moved in on June 8 during which a scuffle led to soldiers on both sides suffering minor injuries. Later, PLA troops were rushed in from its 141 division located in the area, prompting the Indian Army to also strengthen its position.
This is the longest standoff between the two armies since 1962. The last one, which carried on for 21 days, occurred at Daulat Beg Oldie in the Ladakh division of Jammu and Kashmir in 2013, when Chinese troops entered 30 km into Indian territory till the Depsang Plains and claimed it to be a part of its Xinjiang province. They were, however, pushed back. Sikkim, which became a part of India in May 1976, is the only state which has a demarcated border with China. The lines are based on a treaty signed with the Chinese in 1898.