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Road construction will represent ‘change of status quo with security implications for us, India tells China

Indian vehicles enter China through Nathu La pass on May 2, 2007.

Indian vehicles enter China through Nathu La pass on May 2, 2007.  

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Beijing demands the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Sikkim sector as a precondition for “meaningful dialogue” to resolve the situation.

The Indian government on Friday expressed deep concern over China constructing a road in the disputed Doklam area near Sikkim, and said it had conveyed to Beijing that such an action would represent a significant change of status quo with “serious” security implications for India.

India’s reaction that follows a face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the area prompted Beijing to take a tough stance and demand the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Sikkim sector as a precondition for “meaningful dialogue” to resolve the situation. China also accused India of being a “third party” to China-Bhutan dispute.

Reacting to China’s contention, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it was essential that all parties concerned displayed utmost restraint and abide by their respective bilateral understandings not to change the status quo unilaterally.

It is also important that the consensus reached between India and China through the Special Representatives process was scrupulously respected by both sides, the Ministry said.

“India is deeply concerned at the recent Chinese actions and has conveyed to the Chinese government that such construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India,” the MEA asserted in a press release.

The Ministry also narrated the sequence of events since June 16 when a PLA construction party entered the Doklam area and attempted to construct a road.

“In coordination with the Royal Government of Bhutan, Indian personnel, who were present at general area Doka La, approached the Chinese construction party and urged them to desist from changing the status quo. These efforts continue,” it said.

In keeping with their tradition of maintaining close consultation on matters of mutual interest, Bhutan and India were in continuous contact through the unfolding of these developments, it said.

As far as the boundary in the Sikkim sector was concerned, India and China reached an understanding in 2012, reconfirming their mutual agreement on the “basis of the alignment”, the Ministry said.

Further discussions on finalisation of the boundary were taking place under the Special Representatives framework, it noted.

Withdraw troops: China

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, while insisting that Beijing has “indisputable sovereignty” over the area, said: “Diplomatic channels are unimpeded between India and China for talks on the standoff in Sikkim. The pressing issue is to have a meaningful dialogue for the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Doklam area in Sikkim sector.”

Mr. Lu also refuted Bhutan’s allegation that China violated agreements by constructing a road inside its territory.

In a strongly worded statement, Bhutan had asked China to stop constructing the motorable road from Dokola in the Doklam area towards the Bhutan Army camp at Zompelri which, it said, affected the process of demarcating the boundary between the two countries.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 11:10:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-china-border-issue-resolve-peacefully-all-issues-through-dialogue-mea-tells-china/article19185452.ece

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