NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Donald Trump at the White House a week ago, came back home to roll-out the Goods and Services Tax and will take off to Israel on his maiden visit today. However, Beijing now feels India planned the “intrusion” at Doklam to impress the Trump administration. This, and a series of other developments on Monday further escalated tension across the Sikkim border.
“For example, Indian troops crossed the undisputed Sikkim section of China-India border and impeded Chinese workers from building roads a few days before Modi’s visit to the US,” said an editorial in State-run Global Times, adding that India has sought Washington’s support ‘at the cost of India-China’ ties.
The article also blamed the Indian government of starting an anti-dumping probe into Chinese products. “Because the border face-off and the announcement of anti-dumping probe occurred around the same time as Modi’s two-day visit to the US, people link India’s bravura with the Modi-Trump meeting.”
Through the diplomatic channel, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang asked India to withdraw its military presence at Doklam to end the standoff. “By entering Chinese territory and obstructing our troops’ normal activities, India has violated existing convention on the boundary and basic principle of international law,” he claimed at a press conference.
China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Doklam area near the Bhutan trijunction for almost a month in what has been the longest such impasse between the two armies since 1962, when the two countries fought a brief war. Geng also dismissed Defence Minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks that “India of 2017 is different from what it was in 1962,” saying, “China too is different and will take all necessary measures to safeguard its territorial sovereignty.”
Meanwhile, at another maritime border, Beijing scrambled its naval ships and military jets to ‘warn off’ a US missile destroyer sailing close to an artificial island built by it in the disputed South China Sea. It termed Washington’s move as a “serious political and military provocation”.
Can’t use Bhutan as excuse: China
“We have no objection to bilateral relations between India and Bhutan but firmly opposed to Indian side infringing in Chinese territory using Bhutan as an excuse. Bhutan does not know that the Indian troops entered into the Doklam area, which is not in line with what is claimed by Indian,” China’s foreign ministry said.