In response to a question on Chinese MFA’s document released on Wednesday on the Doklam issue, India’s Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Gopal Baglay said, “India’s position on this issue and related facts have been articulated in our Press Statement of June 30, 2017. India considers that peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas is an important prerequisite for smooth development of our bilateral relations with China.”
Earlier, China emphatically rejected India’s interference in its ongoing boundary dispute with Bhutan in the Doklam area and again urged New Delhi to withdraw unconditionally and end the nearly two-month long stand-off.
“The China-Bhutan boundary issue is one between China and Bhutan. It has nothing to do with India. As a third party, India has no right to interfere in or impede the boundary talks between China and Bhutan, still less the right to make territorial claims on Bhutan’s behalf,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.
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.
Emphasizing that China and Bhutan are friendly neighbours, the foreign ministry said in its statement that Beijing has all along respected Bhutan’s sovereignty and independence. It added that the border area between China and Bhutan has always enjoyed peace and tranquility due to the joint efforts of both sides.
Asserting that it will continue to work with Bhutan to resolve the boundary issue between the two countries through negotiations and consultations in the absence of external interference, China said the Dong Lang (Doklam) area has all along been under its continuous and effective jurisdiction.
“There is no dispute in this regard. Since the 1980s, China and Bhutan, as two independent sovereign states, have been engaged in negotiations and consultations to resolve their boundary issue,” the foreign ministry said, adding that so far both sides have had 24 rounds of talks and reached a broad consensus.
Although the boundary is yet to be formally delimited, Beijing said both sides have conducted joint surveys in their border area and have arrived at a basic consensus on the actual state of the border area and the alignment of their respective boundaries.
Referring to the China-India boundary issue in the Sikkim Sector as delimited by the 1890 Convention inked with Britain at the height of its colonial rule over India, the Chinese foreign ministry said that both Beijing and New Delhi have been in discussion on making the boundary in the Sikkim Sector an “early harvest” in the settlement of the entire bilateral boundary question during meetings between Special Representatives on the China-India Boundary Question.
“This is mainly in view of the following considerations. The boundary in the Sikkim Sector has long been delimited by the 1890 Convention, which was signed between then China and Great Britain. China and India ought to sign a new boundary convention in their own names to replace the 1890 Convention. This, however, in no way alters the nature of the boundary in the Sikkim Sector as having already been delimited,” it said.
Beijing again accused New Delhi of attempting to change the status quo of the China-India Boundary in the Sikkim Sector repeatedly and said it poses a grave security threat to China.
China also reiterated that it will take all necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate and lawful rights and interests.
The Chinese side urged India to keep in mind the larger interest of bilateral relations and the well-being of the people on either side of the border.
It said that India must and should abide by the 1890 Convention and the delimited China-India Boundary established therein, respect China’s territorial sovereignty, observe the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and other basic principles of international law and basic norms governing international relations, immediately withdraw its trespassing border troops back to the Indian side of the boundary and conduct a thorough investigation into the illegal trespass so as to swiftly and appropriately resolve the incident and restore peace and tranquility to the border area between the two countries.
Beijing added that this would serve the fundamental interests of both countries and go along with the shared expectations of countries in the region and the wider international community.
Indian and Chinese troops continue to be locked in a standoff in Doklam and both sides have moved additional troops, ammunition and military equipment to the area.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has beefed up its defence in a region south of the Kunlun Mountains under the pretext of conducting a military exercise near Tibet.
Hardware has been moved simultaneously by road and rail by China’s western theatre command, which oversees the restive regions of Xinjiang and Tibet,and handles, among others, border issues with India, media reports have said.
This show of strength is being projected by Beijing as a warning to India by China to back off from its objection to China constructing a road at the Doklam tri-junction.
Earlier, India’s External Affairs Ministry of India (MEA) reiterated that differences between India and China should not and would not be allowed to become disputes, and added that communication between the two governments have never ceased, nor have been broken.
The stand-off emerged after Chinese troops were stopped by the Indian Army from construction roads in the Doklam border.
India claims Sikkim border as part of its territory, while China has said that the area falls on their side as per the 1890 treaty signed between British and China.
Consequently, China suspended the annual Kailash Manasarovar Yatra and conceded that the decision to suspend the pilgrimage was due to the border scuffle.
It also alleged that the Indian troops had crossed the Sikkim sector of the Indo-China border. Beijing has accused New Delhi of violating a convention signed in 1890 between Britain and China relating to Sikkim and Tibet.