China today asked India to withdraw its troops from the Donglong area in Sikkim sector as a precondition for a “meaningful dialogue” to settle the boundary issue, warning that the Indian Army should learn “historical lessons”, in an oblique reference to the 1962 war. In an unprecedented action, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang displayed a photograph of Indian “incursion” into Donglong area and said the dispute which is becoming a confrontation of sorts between the troops on the ground can only be settled by the withdrawal of Indian soldiers from the area.
“Since the illegal trespass happened we have lodged solemn representations with the Indian side in both New Delhi and Beijing,” Lu said, showing the photograph from the podium. He said the photographs will be displayed on the Foreign Ministry’s website later. “The diplomatic channel for communication remains unimpeded. We urged the Indian side to withdraw troops back to the Indian side of the boundary immediately. This is the precondition for the settlement of this incident and also the basis for us to conduct any meaningful dialogue,” he said.
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Addressing the media around the same time, China’s Defence spokesman Col Wu Qian rejected Bhutan’s allegation that PLA soldiers violated its territory in Donglong area, saying its troops operated on “Chinese territory” and also asked India to “correct” its “wrong doing”. “I have to correct when you say Chinese personnel entered Bhutan’s territory. Chinese troops operated on Chinese territory,” a Chinese defence ministry spokesman told media here.
The People’s Liberation Army spokesman also accused Indian troops of entering the Chinese side in Donglong area in Sikkim sector. “They tried to stop the normal activities. The Chinese carried out appropriate responses to these activities to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the spokesman said. “We have made it clear to the Indian side to correct their wrong doing and withdraw all personnel from Chinese territory,” he said.
Bhutan yesterday said it had issued a demarche to China over the construction of a road towards its Army camp in Zomplri area of Doklam and asked Beijing to restore status quo by stopping the work immediately. The Donglong (Doklam) is a tri-junction area near the Chumbi Valley. It is under China’s control. However, Bhutan claims sovereignty over the area. Asked about the protest lodged by Bhutan that the PLA has transgressed its territory in Donglong area as well as reports that Chinese military has destroyed bunkers of Indian army in the area, Col Wu said the PLA troops carried out “appropriate response to incursion” by Indian border guards into Chinese territory.
“The Indian border troupe personnel have entered the Chinese territory in the Sikkim sector of the India-China borders. They tried to stop the normal activities of the Chinese border defence forces in the Donglong region. We carried out appropriate responses to halt these actives to safeguard our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said. The Chinese military rejected as “extremely irresponsible” Army chief General Bipin Rawat’s remarks that India is ready for a two-and-a-half front war, asking him to “stop clamouring for war”. Rawat had said that India is prepared for security threats posed by China, Pakistan as well as by internal threats.
Responding to Rawat’s remarks, Col Wu Qian said: “Such rhetoric is extremely irresponsible”. “We hope that the particular person in the Indian Army could learn from historical lessons and stop such clamouring for war,” he told the media. “Indian Army is fully ready for a two and a half front war,” Rawat had said recently.