China’s actions will have serious security implications, warns India

New Delhi: India said on Friday that it has told China that the road building by Chinese troops in a border region will have “serious security implications for India”, and urged Beijing “not to change the status quo unilaterally”.

“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,” an External Affairs Ministry statement said.

It said India had underlined that New Delhi and Beijing had in 2012 reached an agreement that the tri-junction boundary points between India, China and third countries would be finalised in consultation with the concerned countries.

“Any attempt, therefore, to unilaterally determine tri-junction points is in violation of this understanding,” the Indian statement said.

“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’.”

“It is essential that all parties concerned display utmost restraint and abide by their respective bilateral understandings not to change the status quo unilaterally.”

The statement said India cherished peace and tranquillity on the India-China border areas. “It has not come easily.”

“India is committed to working with China to find peaceful resolution of all issues in the border areas through dialogue.”

On Thursday, China said the withdrawal of Indian troops from what it said was its territory was a “precondition” for a “meaningful dialogue” over the border stand-off.

“We urge the Indian side to withdraw troops back to the Indian side of the boundary,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

“This is the precondition for the settlement of the incident and also the basis for us to conduct a meaningful dialogue.”

“I think diplomatic channel of communication remains unimpeded,” he added.

Friday’s External Affairs Ministry statement also referred to Bhutanese Ambassador to India Vetsop Namgyel’s statement that his country has lodged a protest with the Chinese government through its embassy in New Delhi on June 20 following the construction of road by China in Bhutan.

Listing out the facts, it said that on June 16, a People’s Liberation Army (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,” it stated.

The External Affairs Ministry also referred to a statement issued by the Bhutanese Foreign Ministry on Thursday, which underlined that the construction of the road inside Bhutan was a direct violation of the 1988 and 1998 agreements between Bhutan and China and affected the process of demarcating the boundary between these two countries. Bhutan has urged a return to the status quo as before June 16.

“In keeping with their tradition of maintaining close consultation on matters of mutual interest, RGOB (Royal Government of Bhutan) and the Government of India have been in continuous contact through the unfolding of these developments,” the statement said.

“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.”

According to the statement, 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 June 20,” it said.

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