India says no reduction of troops in Doklam amidst standoff with China

Beijing has been insisting that India withdraw its troops before a dialogue can begin on ending the confrontation.

Published: 02nd August 2017 07:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd August 2017 09:16 PM   |  A+A-

The border row between China and India was triggered in June when the Indian Army stopped a road construction by Chinese troops in Doklam. (File Photo | Reuters)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Contrary to claims made by Chinese, Indian side has not reduced number of its troops in Doklam, where People Liberation Army of China and Indian army have been facing eye ball to eye ball for the past 50 days.

In a 15-page document, the Chinese foreign ministry has claimed at the moment, there are approximately 40 Indian soldiers facing off against the Chinese army in Doklam, down from the 400 that had been in the area at one point.

According to sources in south block, which houses the defence ministry, Indian army has still deployed around 400 troops in the face off site. “We have not reduced any number of troops. Information given out by the Chinese government is incorrect and misleading,’ said an officer. Sources also claimed the similar number of troops from Chinese side is also deployed at the site.

Beijing has been insisting India to withdraw its troops before a dialogue can begin on ending the confrontation. However on the other side, Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj has said both sides should pull back soldiers and engage in talks.

Meanwhile ministry of external affairs here in national capita, citing its June 30 statement on the issue said that  “India considers that peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas in an important prerequisite for  smooth development of our bilateral relations with China.”

On June 30, MEA issued a  detailed statement by saying that India has conveyed to the Chinese government that the latter’s construction of road in the disputed Doklam area ‘would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India. And India is deeply concerned at the recent Chinese actions.”

Even last week’s visit to Beijing by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval also could not provide any solution to the stand off, as both sides have been maintaining the stand that issue can only be resolved by diplomatic channels. Indicating no breakthrough the talks with Doval,  Chginese foreign ministry said, "Yang Jiechi, state councilor  expressed China's stern positions and explicit requirements on the trespass of Indian border troops into China's territory at the Sikkim section of China-India boundary," it said.

On Wednesday, China released a detailed statement said that “On 16 June 2017, the Chinese side was building a road in the Dong Lang area. On 18 June, over 270 Indian border troops, carrying weapons and driving two bulldozers, crossed the boundary in the Sikkim sector at the Duo Ka La (Doka La) pass and advanced more than 100 meters into the Chinese territory to obstruct the road building of the Chinese side, causing tension in the area. In addition to the two bulldozers, the trespassing Indian border troops, reaching as many as over 400 people at one point, have put up three tents and advanced over 180 meters into the Chinese territory. As of the end of July, there were still over 40 Indian border troops and one bulldozer illegally staying in the Chinese territory.”

Blaming Indian troops for constructed  large number of infrastructure facilities including roads at the Duo Ka La pass and its nearby areas on the Indian side of the boundary and even built fortification and other military installations on the boundary, China claims that “on the contrary, it only had very little infrastructure built on its side on the same sector.”. China also alleged obstructions by Indian troops while patrolling in their side of the border, in recent years.

Taking back on the history books, Chinese foreign minister statement also highlighted statements made by Indian representatives including former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru at several occasions about India-China boundary in Sikkim and a convention between Britain and China.

“After the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the independence of India, the governments of both countries inherited the 1890 Convention and the delimited India-China boundary in the Sikkim sector as established by the Convention. This is evidenced by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s letters to Chinese Premier Chou En-lai, diplomatic notes from the Indian Embassy in China to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and documents provided by the Indian side in the Special Representatives Talks on India-China Boundary Question. Each of the two sides has for long exercised jurisdiction over its side of the boundary delimited by the 1890 Convention without any dispute over the specific alignment of the boundary. Once a boundary is established by a convention, it is under particular protection of international law and shall not be violated.”

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