India-China war of words hots up

India-China war of words hots up

Sikkim Sector settled issue: Beijing

India-China war of words hots up

India has rejected China’s argument that the boundary between the two nations in Sikkim Sector was demarcated by an 1890 treaty.

On Monday, Beijing stated that New Delhi had of late flouted the 1890 treaty between China and Great Brittain on Sikkim by sending the Indian Army across the border to stop the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from constructing a road inside Chinese territory.

Geng Shuang, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese government, told journalists in Beijing that the Sino-India boundary in Sikkim Sector was well demarcated by the 1890 treaty.

He also dismissed Defence Minister Arun Jaitley’s remark that India of 2017 was different from what it was in 1962. Geng said China, too, was different and would take “all necessary measures” to safeguard its territorial sovereignty.

New Delhi, however, rejected the argument and conveyed to Beijing through diplomatic channels that while Sikkim's status as an integral part of India had been settled, the boundary between India and China in Sikkim Sector was not demarcated, a source told DH.

The exchange of arguments and counter-arguments continued as the diplomats of the two countries failed to achieve a breakthrough in the negotiations to end the face-off between the Indian Army and the PLA at Doklam – a plateau claimed by Bhutan and China.

The face-off in India-China-Bhutan tri-junction began on June 16 when PLA personnel came to Doklam and tried to start building a road, brushing off the objection by the Royal Bhutan Army soldiers posted on the plateau. The Indian Army soldiers from nearby Doka La post then reached the scene and stopped the PLA personnel.

“What has happened is very clear, the Sikkim Section of the boundary has already been defined by the 1890 convention between Great Britain and China. Doklam belongs to China,” Geng said.

“Former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru endorsed the 1890 Sino-British Treaty on Sikkim in a letter to then Chinese counterpart Zhou Enlai in 1959. Successive Indian governments have also endorsed this,” he said.

The Indian Army's move to stop the PLA personnel from building the road was “a betrayal of the position” taken by (successive) Indian governments, Geng said.

Efforts on

Another source told DH that the Special Representatives of India and China were engaged in a discussion to resolve the dispute and, like other stretches of the disputed boundary, they were also negotiating to settle the Sikkim Section.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and China's State Councillor Yang Jiechi are the Special Representatives of India and China, respectively. They held the 19th round of parleys in Beijing in April 2016 and the 20th round is likely to take place in New Delhi this year, the source added.

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