March 23, 2018

Sikkim stand-off: India building up troops, repairing roads, alleges China

05 August 2017, 12:40 | Marta Robbins

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi left is set to visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in September

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi left is set to visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in September

The Chinese foreign ministry said China had previously notified India "out of kindness" on May 18 and June 8 through the border affairs working mechanism about plans to carry out roadworks in the area. However, he added that the government is prepared for action as it is its responsibility to ensure the security of its citizen and its territory.

The minister also clarified that the standoff between India and China at the tri-junction area should not only be looked from only Doklam's perspective but also with regard to the bilateral relationships between the two countries.

India fears that the road-building activity would allow Chinese troops to cut its access to the seven states in the Northeast.

Instead, China has quoted liberally from the 1890 treaty between Great Britain and China to buttress its claim.

In the latest development, China has accused India of building up troops near the border and making improvements to infrastructure.

On Wednesday, China's foreign ministry issued a 15-page statement detailing its position on the Doklam dispute.

India-China standoff at the Doklam is intensifying with every passing day.

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China alleged that India's intrusion into its territory under the pretext of defending Bhutan's territorial claims, has not only violated Beijing's territorial sovereignty, but also challenged Bhutan's sovereignty and independence.

Earlier on Thursday, Chinese Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi Liu Jinsong told media, "Right now, I can tell you that there are 48 Indian military guards in our territory of Donglang (Doklam)". Unlike Pakistan, which is considered a less formidable adversary in spite of its nuclear weapons and has more to lose in a war, India knows a conflict with China can lead to incalculable harm to both the economy and the geography. India said its troops were attempting to urge the Chinese forces not to change "the status quo" and that any construction would have "serious security implications for India".

China and Bhutan have been engaged in negotiations and consultations to resolve their boundary issue since the 1980s.

In an interview with the Hindu, Joshua T. White, a former top diplomat in the Obama administration, made clear that Washington would not remain on the sidelines in the event of a clash between India and China.

Rejecting the demand by some opposition parties to step up military presence along the border where it is locked in a face-off with China, Swaraj said wisdom lay in resolving the issue diplomatically.

Last month, China's Defense Ministry warned India "not to harbor any illusions about the the disputed territory".

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