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Hitting out at Army Chief General Bipin Rawat for his recent remarks that Doklam is a disputed territory, Chinese military on Thursday asserted that it is very much part of China, and India should draw lessons from the 73-day standoff to avoid similar incidents in the future. Responding to the remarks of Gen Rawat, Chinese Ministry of Defence spokesperson Colonel Wu Qian said, “Doklam is part of China.”
“The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has occupied the area in the west of Torsa nullah called northern Doklam. At the actual spot the two sides have disengaged. The tents remain. The observation posts remain. This is a territory disputed between Bhutan and China,” Rawat had said on January 12 on the eve of the Army Day.
Wu said, “The remarks of the Indian side also shows that the illegal crossing of the Indian border troops is clear in fact and nature”. He added the Indian side should draw lessons from the incident to avoid similar incidents in the future.
Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam since June 16, 2017, after the Indian side stopped construction of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam. The face-off had ended on August 28.
Referring to Gen Rawat’s remarks that New Delhi should take the neighbouring countries along with it, Wu said: “I want to emphasis that the country should be treated equally regardless of its size.
“The concept sphere of influence is demonstration of Cold War mentality. The Chinese side (is) always opposed to it,” he said.
Rawat had said that countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have to be kept on board as part of a broader strategy to deal with China, and India must make “wholehearted” efforts to continue extending support to them.
Wu also denied reports that China plans to establish a military base or counter terrorism base in Afghanistan. “The report on China building a military base in Afghanistan is totally groundless,” he added.
(With PTI inputs)