Sikkim standoff: China says India has ‘ulterior motives’ in claiming Doklam part of tri-junction | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Sikkim standoff: China says India has ‘ulterior motives’ in claiming Doklam part of tri-junction

China has accused India of “ulterior motives” for saying that the Donglang region is part of the tri-junction with Bhutan.

world Updated: Jul 07, 2017 21:43 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
File photo of soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army at the Nathula pass.
File photo of soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army at the Nathula pass.(HT Photo)

China on Friday accused India of “ulterior motives” in claiming the entire Doklam or Donglang region as part of the tri-junction with Bhutan, saying New Delhi’s stance went against its acceptance of a British-era convention on national boundaries in the area.

The alleged trespass by Indian troops occurred at a considerable distance from the point defined by China as the tri-junction, foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing.

“The so-called tri-junction point, as its name implies, is a point instead of a line or area. The 1890 convention between Great Britain and China relating to Tibet and Sikkim (shows that the point) commences at Mount Gipmochi in the east and follows the water-parting until it meets Nepal,” he said.

The “illegal trespass” by Indian troops had occurred at a point 2,000 metres from Mount Gipmochi and had “nothing to do with tri-junction point”, he contended.

“In disregard of the boundary convention, the Indian side takes entire Doklam region as part of tri-junction...The Indian side introduced idea of tri-junction point into the incident and attempts to enlarge the point into an area.  That is absurd and out of ulterior motives,” he said.

India and China have been locked in a tense standoff in the Sikkim sector since Indian troops opposed the construction of a road by Chinese troops at Donglang, which is claimed by Bhutan. India has said its troops were acting in coordination with the Bhutan government.

New Delhi and Thimphu have asked Beijing to maintain status quo in the region. But China responded by accusing Indian troops of illegally crossing the frontier and obstructing the activities of its forces.

India and Bhutan’s perception of the tri-junction differs from that of China, and a Chinese map has depicted the point far south of its depiction on Indian maps.

Geng noted that successive Indian governments had recognised the 1890 convention.

“The Indian government has repeatedly recognised the effectiveness of the 1890 convention on the boundary between Tibet and Sikkim. It has nothing to do with 1962 war since (the boundary) is already recognised by the Indian side. Once it has been recognised, the convention has been effective. It has nothing to do with passing of time or changing of governments,” he said.

Geng dismissed the contention of India’s external affairs ministry that China violated the understanding reached on the tri-junction by the Special Representatives, who head the mechanism to resolve the bilateral boundary dispute.

“To tell you clearly, there is no breach, no violation (of the understanding between the Special Representatives). We always believed that the line is not an area. By equating the point with an area, it is the introduction of a new concept (by India),” he said.

A statement issued by the external affairs ministry last Friday said the “Indian side has underlined that the two governments had in 2012 reached agreement that the tri-junction boundary points between India, China and third countries will be finalised in consultation with the concerned countries”. It added that any attempt to unilaterally determine the tri-junction point is “in violation of this understanding”.

The statement further said that India and China had also reached an understanding in 2012 “reconfirming their mutual agreement on the ‘basis of the alignment’” of the boundary in the Sikkim sector.