By Gaurav Sharma
Beijing, June 29: In a sharp escalation of rhetoric, China on Thursday reminded India about its military defeat in 1962 and asked it to withdraw troops from “Chinese territory,” a precondition Beijing has set for resolving the latest border row in the Sikkim region.
Beijing also asked New Delhi not to “clamour for war”.
“We hope the particular person in the Indian Army could learn from historical lessons and stop such clamouring for war,” People’s Liberation Army spokesperson Wu Qian said, referring to Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat’s remarks that India was ready for a war with both China and Pakistan.
“Such rhetoric is extremely irresponsible,” Wu said about remarks attributed to Gen Rawat, who on Thursday visited Sikkim where Indian and Chinese troops scuffled.
Tensions have risen between the two neighbours over the latest stand-off in India’s Sikkim sector which has a little over 200 km of border with Tibet in China.
This is the only part of over 4,000-km India-China border which is largely settled. The two fought a war in 1962.
The latest stand-off occurred in Donglong or Doklam, a disputed territory between Bhutan and China.
Beijing has accused India of obstructing road building in the area, which it claims as its own. It has also charged India with acting at the behest of Bhutan, which also lays claim to Donglong.
New Delhi has so far not responded to the charges of Beijing, which on Thursday released two photos of Indian troops “trespassing Chinese boundary”.
“We again urge the Indian side to abide by historical boundary convention, respect Chinese territorial sovereignty and withdraw the troops to the Indian side of the boundary to avoid further escalation,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.
“This is the precondition for the settlement of the incident and also the basis for us to conduct a meaningful dialogue,” he said.
Following the face-off, China has suspended the pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet where Indians travel via Nathu La Pass, which is shut now.
Lu said the fact of Indian troops crossing into Chinese territory was “undeniable”. “It is violating our historical boundary conventions as well as promises by the Indian government.
“I can show you the pictures and photos concerning borders trespassed by Indian troops.” Lu said displaying the pictures to the media from the lectern.
China also brushed aside Bhutan’s protest against Beijing building a road towards a Bhutanese Army camp in Zomplri area of Doklam or Donglong, calling the construction “just and lawful” and in Chinese territory.
Bhutan has issued a demarche to the Chinese Embassy over the incident in New Delhi since both countries have no diplomatic ties.
“Donglong has been Chinese territory since ancient time. This is an indisputable territory and we have adequate legal basis concerning this,” Lu said.
“And this is just a sovereign action by China to conduct the road construction in its territory. This is totally justifiable and lawful.”
Barring India and Bhutan, China has settled its land border dispute with its other 12 neighbours.