and the Sikkim stretch of the border between India and China came back into focus on Sunday as Beijing asked India to respect the historical treaty that defined the boundary between the two nations in that area. China's statement calling on India to "face the facts" came a day after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
made her maiden visit to the Nathu La post.
China on Sunday referred to the 1890 UK-China treaty, which it claimed demarcated the Sikkim sector of the Sino-Indian border, as it urged New Delhi to abide by its provisions. Reacting to Sitharaman's visit to the area, the Chinese foreign ministry said: "The Sikkim section of the China-India border has been demarcated by the historical boundary".
The defence minister's visit and Beijing's statement came amid reports that suggested that the Doklam
issue could be hotting up again. Reports last week had said that China was maintaining a considerable troop presence near the site of the standoff and undertaking road expansion work. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had refuted such reports, stating that no new developments had occurred at the site.
Here are the top 10 developments
1) Beijing on Sunday referred to the 1890 UK-China treaty, which, according to it, demarcates the Sikkim sector of the Sino-Indian border. It urged New Delhi to abide by its provisions, a day after Defence Minister Sitharaman made her maiden visit to the Nathu La post. The Chinese foreign ministry said that "the Sikkim section of the China-India border has been demarcated by the historical boundary".
"It is the best testimony to this fact. We urge the Indian side to face the facts, abide by the provisions of the historic boundary treaty and the relevant agreement of the parties, and work together with the Chinese side to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas," the Chinese foreign ministry said in a written response to PTI, to a query about Sitharaman's visit.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh
on Sunday said that the Doklam
standoff with China was resolved because India has become a global power in recent times. Speaking at the 9th Vishwakarma Jayanothsav in Bengaluru, Singh said, "Everyone was expecting that relation between China and India will deteriorate due to the Doklam
issue, but both the countries resolved the issue with comprehension." He added, "Had India remained weak, the Doklam
standoff would not have been resolved till now. It was possible only because India has become a world power." (Read more here
Sitharaman on Saturday visited the Nathu La area on the Sino-Indian border and interacted with Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police officials. Nathu La is the last post separating the border between Sikkim on the Indian side and Tibet on the Chinese side. Sitharaman's trip was the first high-level visit to the area after the 73-day standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at Dokalam in the Sikkim sector of the border. The standoff ended on August 28 following a mutual agreement between India and China. (Read how Sitharaman taught Chinese soldiers to say namaste
The government on Friday said reports of China increasing the number of its troops or constructing a road at Doklam
were incorrect. Responding to reports of Chinese troop presence near Doklam
and road construction
activity, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a press statement: "We have seen recent reports on Doklam.
There are no new developments at the face-off site and its vicinity since the 28th August disengagement. The status quo prevails in this area. Any suggestion to the contrary is incorrect."
Last week, media reports emerged that China has maintained a sizeable presence of its troops near the site of the Sikkim border standoff with India and even started building a road on the Doklam
Plateau, just 10 km from the location of the last conflict. Sources said China has been slowly increasing its troop level in the Doklam
Plateau which could further escalate the current situation as India has reasons to be concerned over it.
(Read our report on China's continued activities near Doklam
According to the reports, thwarted in its last attempt, China has now shifted its unused road construction
material North and East of the face-off site. According to NDTV
, the road construction
workers brought into the area were accompanied by up to 500 soldiers. There was no indication that the soldiers would be permanently based in the area - the Chinese town of Yatung, said the report. An Indian Express
report, however, said that 1,000 Chinese troops were still present on the plateau.
An agency report from Beijing last week suggested that Chinese troops were very much present near Doklam.
China not only defended the presence of its troops in the area but reiterated its sovereignty over it. Bhutan and India dispute Chinese claims on the area and consider it Bhutanese territory. "The Donglang (Doklam) area has always belonged to China and has been under the effective jurisdiction of China," the Chinese Foreign Ministry told PTI in Beijing in response to questions about a report that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is beefing up troops in the area.
8) Responding to the reports in the Indian media, Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming on Saturday told the South China Morning Post that Chinese soldiers were almost certainly in the area to carry out infrastructure and construction work. “The PLA [China’s military] has a base not far from the site of the stand-off and several hundred soldiers are stationed there,” he said, adding, “Usually they have work to do in the region, like building roads, so that is what they are probably doing as there is still some time before the snowy season.”
On Thursday, India's Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa said Chinese troops were currently present in the Chumbi Valley, which is in the Doklam
Plateau, and added that a peaceful resolution of the issue would be in the interest of both countries. "The two sides are not in a physical face-off as we speak. However, their forces in Chumbi Valley are still deployed and I expect them to withdraw as their exercise in the area gets over," Dhanoa had said. Dhanoa added that the Indian Army was prepared to effectively counter any threat from China while confronting a two-front war also involving Pakistan, which has recently intensified border issues. (Read more here
This week, in a first, Prime Minister Narendra Modi came close to acknowledging 'victory' at Doklam.
Modi on Wednesday termed critics of his government as those suffering from ‘Shalya-vrutti
’, or pessimism, who are exultant about economic slowdown on the meagre evidence of a dip in growth in one quarter. The PM also seemed to suggest that such pessimists were dismissive of India’s strength in standing up to China on the Doklam
issue. "Nothing can be done, how will you do it? When Doklam
happened these same people..." the PM said, gesticulating with his hands, indicating that such people were dismissive about India’s ability to stand firm against China during the Doklam
stand-off. (Read more here