China trying to alter territories, India different from 1962: Defence Minister Arun Jaitley

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Defence Minister Arun Jaitley today said Bhutan has appropriately pointed out that China was trying to usurp its land, and that India is not entering into any other country’s land.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley today brushed aside China’s warning about the ongoing face-off along Bhutan border.

Asking India to withdraw troops from Bhutan border areas, China said that India should recall the 1962 war and learn a lesson.

Responding to the remarks made by the Chinese foreign ministry, Arun Jaitley said, “India of 2017 is different from India of 1962. Those were different situations.”

Jaitley said China is trying to encroach on Bhutan’s land. He said, “Statements issued by Bhutan make it clear that this is the land of Bhutan. It is located near India’s land. There is an arrangement between India and Bhutan for giving protection in the border region.”

Jaitley further said that Bhutan has appropriately pointed out that China was trying to usurp its land. India is not entering into any other country’s land what China is doing, Jaitley said.

Earlier, Bhutan issued a demarche to China yesterday 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 demarche by Bhutan comes at a time when there is an ongoing face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the Doklam (also known as Donglang) area of the Sikkim sector.

Doklam is a disputed territory and Bhutan has a written agreement with China that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, peace and tranquillity should be maintained in the area.

This came after China accused India of having a “hidden agenda” in the current military stand-off with it in the Sikkim sector where Beijing has a territorial dispute with Bhutan.

MEA’S REBUTTAL

The Ministry of External Affairs has issued a point-by-point rebuttal. Here’s the full text.

“The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement on 26 June 2017 alleging that Indian border troops crossed the boundary line in the Sikkim sector of the China-India boundary and entered Chinese territory. This has been reiterated since then in other Chinese official briefings.

2.The facts of the matter are as follows:

i. On 16 June, a PLA construction party entered the Doklam area and attempted to construct a road. It is our understanding that a Royal Bhutan Army patrol attempted to dissuade them from this unilateral activity.  The Ambassador of the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGOB) has publicly stated that it lodged a protest with the Chinese Government through their Embassy in New Delhi on 20 June.

ii. Yesterday, the Foreign Ministry of Bhutan has also issued a statement underlining that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the 1988 and 1998 agreements between Bhutan and China and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between these two countries. They have urged a return to the status quo as before 16 June 2017.

iii. In keeping with their tradition of maintaining close consultation on matters of mutual interest, RGOB and the Government of India have been in continuous contact through the unfolding of these developments.

iv. In coordination with the RGOB, Indian personnel, who were present at general area Doka La, approached the Chinese construction party and urged them to desist from changing the status quo. These efforts continue.

v. The matter has been under discussion between India and China at the diplomatic level in the Foreign Ministries since then, both in New Delhi and Beijing.  It was also the subject of a Border Personnel Meeting at Nathu La on 20 June.

3. India is deeply concerned at the recent Chinese actions and has conveyed to the Chinese Government that such construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India.

4. In this context, the Indian side has underlined that the two Governments had in 2012 reached agreement that the tri-junction boundary points between India, China and third countries will be finalized in consultation with the concerned countries.  Any attempt, therefore, to unilaterally determine tri-junction points is in violation of this understanding.

5. Where the boundary in the Sikkim sector is concerned, India and China had reached an understanding also in 2012 reconfirming their mutual agreement on the “basis of the alignment”. Further discussions regarding finalization of the boundary have been taking place under the Special Representatives framework.

6. It is essential that all parties concerned display utmost restraint and abide by their respective bilateral understandings not to change the status quo unilaterally. It is also important that the consensus reached between India and China through the Special Representatives process is scrupulously respected by both sides.

7. India has consistently taken a positive approach to the settlement of its own boundary with China, along with the associated issue of the tri-junctions.

8. India cherishes peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas. It has not come easily. Both sides have worked hard to establish institutional framework to discuss all issues to ensure peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas. India is committed to working with China to find peaceful resolution of all issues in the border areas through dialogue.

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