China accuses Indian troops of ‘crossing boundary’ in Sikkim section

In this file picture, Indian vehicles enter China through Nathu La pass on May 2, 2007.   | Photo Credit: PTI

China on Tuesday confirmed that it had suspended the entry of Indians to Kailash Mansarovar, and lodged a formal protest with New Delhi after an alleged cross-border incursion by Indian troops.

On Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “We have lodged solemn representation in Beijing and New Delhi to elaborate our solemn position.” China’s diplomatic protest was in response to the  “trespassing into the Chinese border by Indian border personnel.” He demanded “immediate actions” by India to withdraw personnel “who have overstepped and trespassed into Chinese border.”

On Monday, the Chinese defence ministry said in a statement that the occurrence at the frontier was “seriously endangering the peace and stability of the border areas.”

Both India and China hold divergent perceptions about the incident, which apparently took place earlier this month in the Doka La region along the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction.

Face-offs between Indian and Chinese troops in this area are rare in recent years. However, eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations have taken place at regular intervals, especially in the western sector along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). India and China have widely divergent perceptions of the LAC, which has, so far, not been delineated between the two countries, and has been widely viewed as a major cause of border incidents.

However, the Chinese foreign ministry has contended that the area where the border incident took place was undisputed, as it was delineated and endorsed. “The Sino-Indian border of Sikkim has been delineated by the 1890 Sino-British Treaty on Tibetan Customs. After the independence of India, the Indian government has confirmed this in writing several times, acknowledging that there is no objection to the border between the two sides," a Ministry statement said.

Defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang stressed that Indian troops recently crossed the border in an attempt to block a road construction in Donglang (Doklam) area by the Chinese side. The assertion runs counter to Indian media reports, which have said that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) crossed into Indian territory and destroyed two bunkers in the Doka La region in Sikkim.

Col. Ren Guoqiang said the construction of roads in Donglang (Doklam) area by the Chinese side was entirely a sovereign act in its own territory and the Indian side had no right to interfere. He added that the “unilateral provocation” by Indian troops had violated the consensus and relevant agreements on border issues between the Chinese and Indian governments. He underscored that “China is committed to developing bilateral relations with India, but it will also firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests.”

The foreign ministry also pointed out that China had taken “corresponding measures" after “Indian border guards in the Sino-Indian border Sikkim section crossed the border into the territory of China, obstructed the Chinese border troops in the Donglong area from conducting normal activities.”

Referring to the Kailash Yatra, it added, “At the same time, in view of the above events, for security reasons, the Chinese side had to suspend the arrangement of the Indian official pilgrimage group through the Sino-Indian border at Nathu La pass, Sikkim, into the pilgrimage, and through diplomatic channels informed the Indian side."

Forty seven pilgrims were denied entry between June 19-23 through Nathu La — the less strenuous second route to Kailash Mansarovar through Sikkim, which was opened in 2015. The older passage passes through Lipulekh in Uttarakhand and it continues to remain open.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 12:36:51 PM |

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