Doklam standoff: China says if India cherishes peace, it will withdraw troops
China blames India for the impasse, accusing Indian soldiers of trespassing and preventing the People’s Liberation Army from building a road in the Donglang region.world Updated: Aug 03, 2017 21:41 IST
China on Thursday dismissed India’s contention that “peace and tranquillity” were prerequisites for smooth relations, saying that if New Delhi “truly cherishes” peace, it will withdraw its soldiers to the Indian side of the Sikkim boundary and end the ongoing military standoff.
The ministry of foreign affairs, in a second statement in as many days, said: “If the Indian side truly cherishes peace, what it should do is to immediately pull back the trespassing border troops to the Indian side of the boundary.”
China blames India for the impasse, accusing Indian soldiers of trespassing and preventing the People’s Liberation Army from building a road in Donglang, or Doklam as called by the Indian side, and also claimed by Bhutan.
China wants India to withdraw its troops from Donglang before the two sides can open talks. India says the road, if built, will have serious security implications for the country.
According to the statement by China, 48 Indian border troops and one bulldozer were stationed at the site of the standoff as of August 2, and more forces had congregated on the Indian side of the boundary. It all but accused India of not wanting a peaceful resolution to the impasse, now in its second month.
“The Indian side always keeps ‘peace’ on the tip of its tongue. But we should not only listen to its words but also heed its deeds. The Chinese side maintains that relevant facts cannot be ignored,” the statement said.
“This incident is illegal under the international law. The Indian side should bear corresponding responsibilities.”
“The Chinese side was building a road in the Donglang area, which is located on the Chinese side of the Sikkim sector of the China-India boundary. This was aimed at improving the local transportation and facilitating local herdsmen’s grazing of livestock and border troops’ patrolling. It is a normal activity of China in its own territory, which is completely lawful and legitimate,” the statement said.
On Wednesday, the Indian external affairs ministry, in response to a 15-page statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry, had said: “India considers that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas is an important prerequisite for smooth development of our bilateral relations with China.”
China’s rebuttal on Thursday was unusually scathing and acerbic. In an unusually dramatic manner, it used the line “this is by no means peace” four times in its statement. It further claimed that China had notified India about the construction of the road in Donglang on May 18 and June 8, but New Delhi didn’t respond.
“The Indian side didn’t respond to the Chinese side through any channel for over one month. Instead, it flagrantly dispatched armed forces carrying equipment to illegally cross the boundary to obstruct China’s road building. This is by no means for peace,” the statement said.
“Secondly, over one month has passed since the outbreak of the incident. The Indian border troops still illegally stay on the Chinese territory. Moreover, the Indian side is building roads, hoarding supplies and deploying a large number of armed forces on the Indian side of the boundary. This is by no means for peace,” it added.