(TibetanReview.net, Aug03, 2017) – In its latest salvo on the ongoing Doklam standoff, China’s foreign ministry has issued a 15-page fact sheet, titled as “The Facts and China’s Position”, on Aug 2, saying India should not make territorial claims on Bhutan’s behalf.
Doklam is situated near the tri-junction of Chinese ruled Tibet, India’s Sikkim state and Bhutan. It is claimed by both China, as an extension of its rule over Tibet, and Bhutan. Indian troops entered the area on Jul 6 after being alerted by Bhutan that China was building a road in the disputed territory not only to help it but also because the project posed a serious threat to its territorial integrity.
“The China-Bhutan boundary issue is one between China and Bhutan. It has nothing to do with India. As a third party, 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,” said the Chinese Foreign Ministry dossier.
The latest Chinese document claimed that India’s “intrusion” into “Chinese territory” under the pretext of helping Bhutan had not only “violated China’s territorial sovereignty but also challenged Bhutan’s sovereignty and independence”.
Calling China and Bhutan friendly neighbours, the statement said, “China will continue to work with Bhutan to resolve the boundary issue between the two countries through negotiations and consultations in the absence of external interference.”
The statement said Beijing had “sought to communicate with India through diplomatic channels to resolve the incident” with “a prerequisite” that India should “immediately and unconditionally withdraw its trespassing border troops back to the Indian side of the boundary”.
And it warned: “No country should ever underestimate the resolve of the Chinese government and people to defend China’s territorial sovereignty.” It reiterated China’s stand that it “will take all necessary measures” to safeguard its rights and interests.
The document invoked an 1890 colonial agreement between China and Great Britain and asked India to abide by this so-called Convention and the delimited China-India boundary established therein. That agreement was a colonial overreach and entirely unenforceable even at that time due to its patent lack of legitimacy.
India’s position is that China had intruded into Bhutanese territory which was aimed at changing the status quo along the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction that India and China had agreed to settle taking into account Bhutanese concerns as well, as per a 2012 agreement. And it says the Chinese action had consequences for India’s national security.
It responded to China’s 15-point fact sheet by simply stating, “India considers that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas is an important prerequisite for smooth development of our bilateral relations with China.”