As the India-China standoff at Doklam plateau in Sikkim sector enters its seventh week, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) analyst on Thursday opined that Beijing will make no ‘compromise’ on ending the row. The analysts also said that New Delhi has ‘misjudged’ China’s resolve by sending troops to what it claims to be China’s territory. A senior PLA analyst Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhou was quoted by PTI as saying: “China so far has not used the world ‘invasion’. We have only used words like ‘trespass’ or ‘incursion’ and that is the goodwill of China.” Director at the Centre on China-American Defence Relations of the Academy of Military Science, Xiaozhou said: “We hope for the best but we — the Chinese government and the military — do not have any room to make any compromise on the matter. So for the well-being of the two peoples and the amity of the two countries, India must withdraw unconditionally.”
The analysts comments come a day after it was revealed that China has stepped up its troop presence in the vicinity of the standoff site at the trijunction with Bhutan. Also Read: China won’t ‘compromise’ on Doklam: PLA analysts
China steps up troop presence in Doklam region
The standoff, which is now seven weeks in the making, has prompted an increased Chinese troops’ presence at a distance of around one kilometre from Dolam plateau, north of Doka La post. This is where the Chinese have pitched around 80 tents for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers. The number of Chinese troops in the vicinity is estimated to be less than 800. Besides, 300 soldiers are also deployed at the standoff site, facing at least 350 Indian soldiers who have pitched tents in the area.
Separately, the Army has also advanced its schedule for Operational Alert for units of 33 Corps looking after Sikkim’s border with China. Essentially, an Op Alert is a two-week long yearly training event in which all Army units move to familiarise themselves with their likely area of operation. This two-week duration excludes the time for movement and acclimatisation for troop deployment at higher altitudes.
China claims 53 people from Indian side in Chinese territory
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, in the meantime, told state-run Global Times in a statement that at nearly ’53 people and a bulldozer from the Indian side remain in Chinese territory as of Monday’. The ministry said: “India should withdraw its troops and equipment. Regardless of how many Indian troops have trespassed into and stayed in Chinese territory, they have gravely infringed on China’s sovereignty.” Also Read: At least 53 people, a bulldozer from Indian side still in Chinese territory, claims China
Scathing China Daily editorial tells India window to resolve Doklam row is closing
On Wednesday, China Daily warned that ‘the countdown to a clash between the two forces has begun’. In its scathing editorial titled ‘New Delhi should come to its senses while it has time’, the publication said the window to peacefully resolve the standoff in Doklam is closing. “The countdown to a clash between the two forces has begun, and the clock is ticking away the time to what seems to be an inevitable conclusion,” it had said. Also Read: Countdown to clash between Indian and Chinese forces has begun, says China Daily
China has taken provocative steps in Doklam, says US Congressman
Amid the standoff, an influential US lawmaker has accused China of taking provocative steps resulting in tensions between New Delhi and Beijing. Congressman from Illinois Raja Krishnamoorthi told PTI: “I’m very concerned about what is happening on Doklam Plateau. I believe that China has taken certain provocative steps that have escalated into the current standoff on the plateau.” 44-year-old Krishnamoorthi, who just returned from a short trip to India during which he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said the Sikkim standoff did not figure in his meeting with the prime minister.
Chinese scholars say India, China should ink new boundary pact in Sikkim sector
Notwithstanding the Doklam standoff, Chinese military analysts say that India and China should sign a new boundary convention in the Sikkim sector to replace the 1890 Great Britain-China agreement and make it more contemporary. “For China early harvest means, we want to have a new agreement with India, because the 1890 convention was signed between Great Britain and China,” said Xiaozhou. “At that time, it was not the People’s Republic of China, (PRC). India became independent in 1947. It is better we change the signatures of the convention, that is what I mean early harvest,” he said. Also Read: India, China should ink new boundary pact in Sikkim sector: Chinese scholars
“It is very essential because there are territorial disputes in the eastern, central and western sectors of the India-China border. Only in the Sikkim section we have the fixed border. So, we want to start from the easiest, that is what we call early harvest,” he added. The Chinese Foreign Ministry too in its August 2 fact-sheet on Doklam standoff referred to Beijing’s expectations of an “early harvest” in the Sikkim sector.
Dalai Lama says Doklam standoff ‘not a very serious issue’
Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama downplayed the standoff saying it is “not a very serious issue”, and that the two countries have to live as neighbours. The Tibetan spiritual leader reiterated that the spirit of ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai (India-China brotherhood) is the only way forward. “I do not think it (Doklam standoff) is very serious. India and China have to live side by side…. Even in 1962, Chinese forces had reached Bomdilla, (and) eventually withdrew. India and China have to live side by side,” he said. Also Read: Spirit of Hindi-Chini bhai bhai way forward says Dalai Lama on the ongoing Doklam standoff
There is speculation that the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh in April this year could likely have acted as a trigger for Beijing’s aggressive posture in Doklam. However, there’s no concrete evidence to substantiate the claim.
China warns India: “What if we enter Kashmir or Kalapani in Uttarakhand”
Beijing also rejected India’s suggestion for a withdrawal of troops to end the row at Doklam. It upped the ante questioning what India would do if China ‘enters’ Kalapani in Uttarakhand or Kashmir. Wang Wenli, Deputy Director General of the Boundary and Ocean Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “Even if there is only one Indian soldier, even for a day it is still a violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“The Indian side has also many tri-junctions. What if we use the same excuse and enter the Kalapani region between China, India and Nepal or even into the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan,” she said. “Therefore, using the tri-junction as an excuse does not hold water at all. It will only cause more trouble,” Wang said.
Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a stand-off in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector for seven weeks now after Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the disputed area. China claimed that they were constructing the road within their territory and has been demanding immediate pull-out of the Indian troops from the disputed Doklam plateau. New Delhi has expressed concern over the road building, apprehending that it may allow Chinese troops to cut India’s access to its northeastern states. Also Read: Nepal won’t take any sides in India-China standoff: Deputy PM Krishna Bahadur Mahara
India has conveyed to the Chinese government that the road construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for it. Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Doklam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.
Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim. China also claims
that Thimphu has no dispute with Beijing over Doklam.