Amidst the ongoing tension between India and China over the Sikkim border issue, the Political Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in India, Li Ya, has suggested India to withdraw its troops back to Indian side of the boundary, before peace talks between the two sides. “As far as solution is concerned, the Indian troops must pull back to Indian side of the boundary unconditionally and immediately. This is the precondition for any meaningful dialogue between China and India,” said Li, in a video issued by the Chinese Embassy, over the border standoff between the two sides. He claimed there was no support to India’s claim that the Doklam area belong to Bhutan, adding that China has strong evidence to prove that Doklam belongs to them.
“We have strong evidence to prove that Doklam belongs to China. Doklam has always been the traditional pasture for Chinese border inhabitants. Archives of Xi Zang Autonomous Region still retain some receipts of the grass tax paid by Bhutanese herdsmen. Today the Chinese border troops still patrol there and the herdsmen graze their livestock there, and production and living facilities have been built there,” he explained.
“As to changing status quo, since Doklam is part of Chinese territory, activities conducted by China in Doklam are within China’s sovereignty,” he added. Li alleged that it was the Indian side that had trespassed into Chinese territory on June 18 and changed the status quo, triggering a close range face-off. He further said that this section, along the border, is delimited by the convention between China and Great Britain relating to Tibet and Sikkim in 1890.
“In essence, China’s territorial sovereignty has been undermined by the Indian border troops. After the incident, the Indian side claims that Doklam belongs to Bhutan, Chinese side changed the status quo and India has security concern,” he said. The present standoff between India and China emerged after New Delhi expressed its apprehension over Beijing’s road construction in the Sikkim sector of the border.
While India claims Sikkim border as part of its territory, China has said that the area falls on their side as per the 1890 treaty signed between British and China. Consequently, China suspended the annual Kailash Manasarovar yatra and conceded that the decision to suspend the pilgrimage was due to the border scuffle. It also alleged that the Indian troops had crossed the Sikkim section of the Indo- China border.