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Rawat in Sikkim as China demands troop withdrawal

In this file picture Indian Army soldiers are seen after a snowfall at the India-China trade route at Nathu-La, in Sikkim. Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.

In this file picture Indian Army soldiers are seen after a snowfall at the India-China trade route at Nathu-La, in Sikkim. Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Beijing cites 1962 war on Army chief’s comments of readiness for war

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat reached Sikkim on Thursday to review the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops along the border even as Chinese authorities alluded to India’s defeat in the 1962 war while asking New Delhi to withdraw forces.

Army sources said that during his two-day visit, General Rawat would review the situation at the tri-junction between India, Bhutan and China, where military units of India and China are believed to be in a standoff. The Army Chief visited areas under the 17 Mountain Division tasked with guarding the China-India border in the Sikkim sector.

Weather permitting, General Rawat could visit some forward areas, sources said.

 

Following the tensions, Chinese authorities have closed the Nathu La pass to Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims, forcing them to return.

China on Thursday served notice on India to withdraw its forces, which had allegedly “trespassed” into its territory, as a precondition for a “meaningful dialogue” with New Delhi. It also alluded to India’s defeat in the 1962 war, as part of escalating “mind games.”

In remarks at the monthly defence ministry briefing in Beijing, PLA spokesman Wu Qian cited the 1962 war, in response to remarks by Army Chief Bipin Rawat. Asked to comment on Gen. Rawat’s assertion that India was ready to take on a two-front war with China and Pakistan, while simultaneously tackling internal security issues, Col. Wu said: “Such rhetoric is extremely irresponsible. We hope (the) particular person in the Indian Army could learn from historical lessons and stop such clamouring for war.”

When asked about the China-Bhutan boundary dispute in the Doklam (referred to as Donglang in China) area, as a factor in the stand-off, Col.Wu denied that PLA soldiers were operating in Bhutan. “I have to correct you when you say that Chinese troops entered Bhutan territory.”

(With inputs from PTI)

Border on the boil

There were repeated skirmishes on the India-China border ever since the 1962 war.

 

September 1967: Chinese troops fired at Indian posts close to Nathu La and the Indian Army retaliated with full force. Both sides suffered casualties with China significantly higher. A ceasefire was declared later.

 

June 1986: The Indian Army launched exercise ''Chequerboard'' after China amassed thousands of troops in the Thandrong pasture on the banks of the Somdurong Chu river. The situation was diffused diplomatically by August 1987.

 

November 2008: Chinese troops destroyed makeshift Indian Army bunkers at Doko La near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction.

 

April 2013: Chinese troops intruded into Daulat Beg Oldi in Eastern Ladakh and set up camps in the Depsang Valley. These came ahead of Premier Li Keqiang’s India visit.

 

August 2014: Chinese troops entered 25 to 30 km into the Indian territory in Burtse area in Ladakh and pitched their tents and the standoff continued for three weeks.

 

September 2014:  About 1,000  troops intruded 3 km inside Chumar in Eastern Ladakh. The incident lasted for a week and coincided with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India.

 

March 2016: A platoon of chinese soldiers came about 5.5 km inside the Indian territory near Pangong Tso lake in Eastern Ladakh. Incident resolved in a few hours.

 

June 2017: China removed an old bunker of the Indian Army located at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan in Sikkim by using a bulldozer after the Indian side refused to accede to its request to dismantle it.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 7:29:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sikkim-standoff-china-asks-army-chief-to-stop-clamouring-for-war/article19180321.ece

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