National security advisor Ajit Doval’s meeting with his counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing last week resulted in a diplomatic opening between the two sides.
The two sides can not even agree on where the dispute now stands: after China’s statement claimed that there were only 40 Indian troops remaining in the Doklam area, Indian government sources quickly denied any troop reductions, insisting that the army continues to stand up to China in its original numbers. “Bilateral meetings were also held and I was present”, Ms. Swaraj said.
Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Doklam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.
The document said “no country should ever underestimate the resolve of the Chinese government and people to defend China’s territorial sovereignty”.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Bangkok on July 24 that it is very clear who is right and who is wrong in the standoff in Doklam, and that even senior Indian officials have publicly said that Chinese troops have not intruded into Indian territory.
Sun Shihai, an adviser to the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies said, “Beijing has been trying to lure India to join “Belt and Road” projects because both countries stand to benefit from them strategically and economically”.
An article in China’s state-sponsored Global Times has urged Chinese companies to update their knowledge about India before making investment decision. “Chinese action in Doklam area is therefore of concern”. However, India has flatly rejected these reports, claiming that it hasn’t withdrawn any troops.
The standoff on the Sikkim border between Indian and Chinese troops in the contested Doklam plateau region sees no signs of subsiding, and tensions continue to rise between the two nations.
Spokesperson Geng Shuang made the remarks in response to a question regarding China’s road building in the Dong Lang area, mentioned in a position document on the border incident. Almost 350 Indian soldiers are deployed at a distance from around 300 Chinese soldiers near Doka La, sources said.
The Journal of Popular Liberation Army (EPL) today called for the immediate withdrawal of Indian troops that crossed the border into Chinese territory.
In a 15-page document released on Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that there are approximately 40 Indian soldiers standing up to the Chinese in Doklam presently, down from 400 that had been there at one point. This is an undeniable fact.
The Chinese diplomat also maintained that the 1890 agreement between British India and China on the boundary between Sikkim (part of India) and Tibet (part of China) is binding on India. “No country should underestimate our resolve in safeguarding our territorial sovereignty”, it said.
“Since the incident broke out, India has invented various excuses to justify its illegal action, but its arguments have no factual or legal grounds at all and are simply untenable”, the ministry said.
“China’s road building on its own territory is aimed at improving local transportation, which is completely lawful and legitimate”. “But we should not only listen to its words but also heed its deeds”, it added, saying India had “flagrantly dispatched armed forces carrying equipment to illegally cross the boundary to obstruct China’s road building”.
“India considers that peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas is an important pre-requisite for smooth development of our bilateral relations with China”, India’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday evening.
Once completed, the road can give China easier access to India’s strategically vulnerable 20km-wide corridor, known as “Chicken’s neck” that links India’s main landmass with its seven northeastern states.