China says it told India in advance about Doklam road

Kristopher Drake
August 3, 2017

By late Wednesday evening, it seemed that the Chinese foreign ministry was trying to assuage hawkish sentiments at home by talking about reduction in Indian troops while addressing the global community with its theory that India is the real aggressor in the Doklam dispute.

On June 30, MEA issued a detailed statement by saying that India has conveyed to the Chinese government that the latter's construction of road in the disputed Doklam area 'would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India.

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.

"The Chinese side urges the Indian government to keep in mind the larger interest of bilateral relations and the well-being of the two peoples".

But India's June 30 statement clarified that regarding the boundary in the Sikkim sector, India and China reached an understanding in 2012 reconfirming their mutual agreement on the "basis of the alignment". It added that the border area between China and Bhutan has always enjoyed peace and tranquility due to the joint efforts of both sides. China also recommended that the two countries sign a fresh boundary convention to replace the 1890 treaty.

Interestingly, such a strong statement comes exactly within a week of the visit of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to Beijing and his meeting with his counterpart and State Councillor Yang Jiechi. China and India ought to sign a new boundary convention in their own names to replace the 1890 Convention.

"China and Bhutan are friendly neighbours".

His words, which were addressed to Ashok Mehta, a former Major General of the Indian Army, reflect the escalating border conflict between Beijing and New Delhi in the region known as "Doklam" in India and "Donglang" in China. Troops of both countries are locked in a stand off along the border in Sikkim sector, after China attempted road construction in Bhutanese territory around mid-June.

Beijing's document said that by the end of July, there were still over 40 Indian army personnel and one bulldozer illegally positioned in the Chinese territory.

The document dismissed Indian claims that China was attempting to change the status quo of the border region with the road.

Chinese activity has been reported across the border in Himachal Pradesh districts near the area where China is constructing roads.

The statement said that standoff, which began on June 18, happened in an area where there is a clear and delimited boundary. It asserted that "China will take all necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate and lawful rights and interests".

"The Indian side not only has not taken any actual steps to correct its mistake, it has concocted all sorts of reasons that don't have a leg to stand on, to make up excuses for the Indian military's illegal crossing of the border", the Chinese foreign ministry said in the statement. "China, with all its attempts to expand its influence in South Asia, can not afford to alienate India by sending it toward a closer partnership with the United States in the security sphere", Kashin said.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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