Beijing : China on Thursday asked India to withdraw its troops from the Donglong area in the Sikkim sector as a precondition for a “meaningful dialogue” to settle the current stand-off, warning that the Indian Army should learn “historical lessons”, in an oblique reference to the 1962 war.
Launching a media blitzkrieg on the Sikkim stand-off, both Chinese Foreign and Defence Ministries directed their attacks on India and maintained that the Indian army had “illegally trespassed” into the Chinese territory.
The People’s Liberation Army spokesman, Col Wu Qian also rejected as “extremely irresponsible” Army chief General Bipin Rawat’s remarks that India is ready for a “two-and-a-half front war”, asking him to “stop clamouring for war”.
Rawat had said that India is prepared for security threats posed by China, Pakistan as well as by internal threats.
When asked to respond to Rawat’s remarks, Col Wu said: “Such rhetoric is extremely irresponsible”.
“We hope that the particular person in the Indian Army could learn from historical lessons and stop such clamouring for war,” he told the media here.
In an unprecedented action, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang displayed two photographs of the alleged Indian “incursion” into Donglong area during a media briefing here.
He said the Sikkim stand-off between the troops of the two countries can only be settled by the withdrawal of Indian soldiers from the area.
“Since the illegal trespass happened we have lodged solemn representations with the Indian side in both New Delhi and Beijing,” Lu said, showing the photographs from the podium.
Later, the ministry uploaded two photographs on its website along with the Chinese transcript of Lu’ press briefing.
One photo showed two bulldozers stated to be that of Indian military while another showed one bulldozer. A redline in the photos was showed as “Chinese side of the border”.
In the briefing, Lu said the diplomatic channel for communication between the two countries remains “unimpeded”. “We urged the Indian side to withdraw troops back to the Indian side of the boundary immediately. This is the precondition for the settlement of this incident and also the basis for us to conduct any meaningful dialogue,” Lu said.
Replying to pointed questions by the Chinese official media about Indian Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat’s remarks that there was no incursion, “We have said clearly here that the reality is that the Indian border troops illegally trespassed into the Chinese territory across the Sikkim section.”
“Gen Rawat’s remarks also prove that the previous report by the Indian media was not true. The truth cannot be covered up. We again urge the Indian side to abide by the historical boundary convention,” he said, referring to China’s assertion in the past few days that Sikkim section of the India-China boundary was settled under the Sino-British Treaty of 1890 which Beijing also claims was accepted by India later.
Lu said India should respect China’s territorial sovereignty and withdraw the troops back to the Indian side of the boundary to avoid any escalations.
To another question whether the “overstepping” by the Indian troops violated international law and the basic principles of international relations, Lu said the Sikkim sector of the China-Indian border has a very clear legal basis.