Army Chief in Sikkim; China toughens stand

Army Chief in Sikkim; China toughens stand

Ashok Kantha, former envoy to China said, “While both sides broadly agree on the alignment of the boundary in the Sikkim Sector, there are differences on the tri-junction point, which involves India, Bhutan and China”.

The Chinese Foreign Minister spokesperson on Thursday once again urged India to respect China’s territorial sovereignty and withdraw its troops from the Sikkim section of Sino-India border.

Even as Army chief General Bipin Rawat reviewed the ground situation by visiting the headquarters of the 17 Mountain Division in Gangtok and 27 Mountain Division in Kalimpong on Thursday, sources said the two rival armies had strengthened their positions at the tri-junction by deploying around 3,000 troops each in a virtually eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation. “For security concerns, China has suspended the entry of Indian pilgrims to China’s Tibet Autonomous Region via the Nathu La Pass in the Sikkim section of the India-China border”, Lu said. Bhutan had told China to restore status quo and stop work on the road immediately. Despite the People Liberation Army’s strong remarks, the Chinese foreign ministry indicated its willingness to resolve the dispute through dialogue.

“Doklam has been a part of China since ancient times”. The pictures were posted on the website of the Foreign Ministry. “The Chinese are very upset by the Indian assertion, and are seeking to push back against what they see as a line having been crossed”, a senior Indian official said. Also, under a China-Pakistan boundary agreement signed in March 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq.km of Indian territory in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to China.

The two sets of troops then confronted each other close to a highly strategic valley controlled by China that separates India from Bhutan – a close Indian ally – and gives China access to the so-called Chicken’s Neck, a slither of land that connects India to its remote north-eastern regions.

The Indian government has since taken steps to cool the tensions, rejecting an Australian request to take part in joint naval exercises with the United States and Japan last month to avoid antagonising China.

“This is an undeniable fact that the Indian troops have trespassed the boundary and it is violating our historical boundary convention as well as the promises made by the previous Indian governments”, he said. “This is an indisputable territory and we have adequate legal basis concerning this”, Lu said. China’s activities in Doklam are acts of sovereignty on its own territory. “This is totally justifiable and lawful”, he said.

“Being defeated by China in 1962 has left a lingering effect on India”, an article in China.Com, a Chinese portal said, alleging that India is trying to seek political and diplomatic power as well as military superiority.