India secretly reduced troops by ten times at Doklam border, claims China
The statement carried in a detailed document citing statistics issued on Wednesday suggested that there were troops in Chinese territory, though the numbers plummeted by around 10 times.
"The trespassing Indian border troops, reaching as many as over 400 people at one point, have put up three tents and advanced over 180 metres 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," the statement said.
The 15-page document bearing a lengthy title 'The Facts and China’s Position Concerning the Indian Border Troops’ Crossing of the China-India Boundary in the Sikkim Sector into the Chinese Territory ' implies that Indian troops had crossed the border from Sikkim on June 18, two days after the building of a road had commenced in the Dong Lang area (the Bhutanese describe this area as Doklam). They said that the 270 armed Indian troops and bulldozers “advanced more than 100 meters into Chinese territory to obstruct the road building of the Chinese side, causing tension in the area”.
The most pivotal part of the 'fact sheet' is the withdrawal of troops by New Delhi as claimed by Beijing has been denied by Modi administration.
The Indian foreign ministry responded in the evening by calling "peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas" a "prerequisite" for smooth bilateral relations but did not confront the assertions in Beijing's statement, not even the alleged troop reduction.
But the troops withdrawal has not yet satisfied Beijing which asserts that 'immediate and unconditional' pull back was needed to help solve the crisis.
"No country should ever underestimate the resolve of the Chinese government and people to defend China's territorial sovereignty. China will take all necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate and lawful rights and interests. The incident took place on the Chinese side of the delimited boundary. India should immediately and unconditionally withdraw its trespassing border troops back to the Indian side of the boundary. This is a prerequisite and basis for resolving the incident," it added.
The document also claimed that Chinese officials informed their Indian counterparts about plans to extend the road on the plateau at a border meeting on June 1.
Bhutan, in its only public statement on the crisis, did not mention India which irked China consequently leading to accusations against India of violating the sovereignty of both the countries that claim the plateau.
"India has no right to interfere in or impede the boundary talks between China and Bhutan, still less the right to make territorial claims on Bhutan's behalf," the Chinese statement said.
"India's intrusion into Chinese territory under the pretext of Bhutan has not only violated China's territorial sovereignty but also challenged Bhutan's sovereignty and independence."
It cited a March 22, 1959, letter from India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai.
On September 26 the same year, Nehru wrote to Zhou again, stating that "there is thus no dispute regarding the boundary of Sikkim with the Tibet region".
Five months later, on February 12, 1960, the Indian embassy in Beijing wrote to the Chinese foreign ministry stating that the Sikkim-Tibet border "has long been formally delimited" and that the boundary "has also been demarcated on the ground".
The fourth document mentioned for the first time seems to be a non-paper presented by the Indian side on May 10, 2006, through special representatives working on China-India boundary questions. A single line has been quoted from it: “e) Both sides agree on the boundary alignment in the Sikkim Sector”.
India, however, has claimed that the Sikkim boundary has never been settled, even after the 1890 convention.
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