China blames India for Sikkim trouble, accuses Indian border guards of crossing into its territory
It is also for the first time that China clarified the reason behind the suspension of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra after keeping silent about it for a week.Updated: Jun 27, 2017 09:51 IST
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China on Tuesday accused the Indian military of incursion into its territory along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Sikkim and obstructing its army personnel from carrying out routine works.
Beijing also said because of the trouble in the area it suspended the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (KMY) through the Nathula Pass preventing more than 50 Indian pilgrims from crossing the border.
It’s rare for China to officially accuse India of incursion across the LAC but the face-off between the two armed forces in Sikkim – and the media reports and reaction in India – would have convinced Beijing to come out with not one but two statements within hours.
It is also for the first time that Beijing clarified the reason behind the suspension of the KMY after keeping silent about it for a week.
Earlier, PTI reported from New Delhi that Indian and Chinese troops scuffled near the Doka La area in the first week of June, quoting unnamed sources, before soldiers from Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) damaged bunkers on the Indian side.
Both the PLA and the Chinese foreign ministry gave a different sequence of events.
“Recently, the Indian border guards along the Sino-Indian border in Saijin section crossed the border line into the territory of China, obstructed the Chinese border troops in the Donglong area of normal activities. China has taken corresponding measures,” the ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) said in a terse statement.
The MFA statement comes soon after the PLA released a statement late on Monday night, blaming the Indian military of provoking trouble along the Sikkim LAC.
The foreign ministry statement talked about the border agreement between the two countries and how Indian troops had violated it.
“The Sino-Indian border of Sikkim has been delineated by the 1890 Sino-British Treaty on Tibetan Customs. After the independence of India, the Indian government has confirmed this in writing several times, acknowledging that there is no objection to the border between the two sides,” the MFA statement said echoing the PLA release.
“The Chinese side asked the Indian side to respect the border treaty, respect the territorial sovereignty of China, (asked for) the immediate withdrawal of border officials and (to) thoroughly investigate the matter, to maintain the Sino-Indian border Sikkim section of peace and tranquility,” the foreign ministry said.
Giving its side of the events, the MFA said it was because of security reasons that the Indian pilgrims were not allowed inside China for the KMY.
“At the same time, in view of the above events, for security reasons, the Chinese side had to suspend the arrangement of the Indian official pilgrimage group through the Sino-Indian border Sikkim Duan Nai la Pass into the pilgrimage, and through diplomatic channels to inform the Indian side (sic),” the statement said.
The pilgrims were kept waiting till June 23 after which they returned to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, which is the only region where the border between India and China is demarcated, according to PTI.
The LAC is the de-facto, 4,000-km long border that India and China share in regions that they both claim as their territory.
It is not the first time that a transgression has happened at Doka La, on the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction.
Chinese forces had in November 2008 destroyed makeshift Indian army bunkers.
Earlier this year, Chinese helicopters entered Indian airspace in the Barahoti area of Uttarakhand.
Referring to the violation of Indian airspace by the Chinese helicopter, army chief Bipin Rawat earlier this month claimed the allegations of intrusion are matters of perceptions by the two sides rather than incursion attempts.
First Published: Jun 27, 2017 09:50 IST