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Sikkim standoff: Indian soldiers can withdraw, be captured or be killed, says former Chinese diplomat to India

The comments by Liu Youfa, a former Chinese consulate general in Mumbai, come amid a military stand-off between India and China in the Doklam area.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2017 12:48 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Sikkim standoff,India,China
A file photo of Chinese soldiers at Nathu La pass, Sikkim. In the current standoff, Beijing wants India to withdraw its troops from Doklam before the two sides can open talks. (HT )

A former Chinese diplomat who recently served in India has said that Indian troops deployed at the disputed Donglang area could either withdraw voluntarily, be captured or be killed.

The comments by Liu Youfa, a former Chinese consulate general in Mumbai, come amid a military stand-off in the Donglang area – also called Doklam – with Beijing blaming Indian soldiers of trespass and preventing Chinese soldiers from building a road in the region, which is also claimed by Bhutan.

“According to what I understand of international law, when people in uniform get across the border to move into the territory of the other side, they naturally become enemies who will have to face three consequences: First, they can go out voluntarily, or they may be captured or when the border dispute should escalate, they may be killed,” Liu told CGTN, the English channel of national broadcaster CCTV.

Liu said the current standoff might be said be part of the border dispute but “it is an invasion.”

Speaking at a program on the standoff, Liu said China has been “patient” so far.

“So, there are three possibilities. So, I think the Chinese side is standing there waiting for the Indian side to make the sensitive choice” and pull out of the region, Liu argued. “This is the best result for both sides to avoid the eventual confrontation.”

“The Chinese side has so far given so much time for the Indian side, for our Indian friends to take sensitive measures,” Liu, who is associated with a Chinese think-tank, said.

Beijing wants India to withdraw its troops from Donglang before the two sides can open talks. New Delhi says the road, if built, will have serious security implications for India.

Liu brushed aside India’s concerns about its security concerns.

“Indian forces have stepped across the border with no warning. We have a saying: You have stepped into my front yard and when I ask you to move, you say you got to give me something to pull out. Is that logical?” he asked.

Building roads in borderline areas are sovereign rights for India and China.

“Construction of the road by the Chinese government should not service the ground to send your troops across the border,” Liu said. India is building airfields and highway networks along the border and “…you cannot stop China from doing the same.”

“China and India are two great neighbours that cannot afford to be hostile to each other. Neither side should take the advantages of the concessions and the goodwill to move beyond reasonable limits,” he said.

First Published: Jul 20, 2017 13:56 IST