(TibetanReview.net, Jun28, 2017) – It now turns out that the damaging by Chinese border troops of two makeshift Indian bunkers in Sikkim’s border in the early part of June was a reprisal for alleged Indian troop’ crossing into Chinese ruled Tibet to stop a strategic road being built there. And this was also the reason why China did not allow a group of 48 Indian pilgrims to cross from the Sikkim border post at Nathu-la pass.
China urges India to immediately withdraw its border guards that have crossed the boundary and have a thorough investigation of this matter, China’s official Xinhua news agency Jun 27 quoted a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson as saying Jun 26 night.
The spokesperson, Geng Shuang, was cited as saying Indian border guards had crossed the boundary in the Sikkim section of the China-India border and entered the territory of China, and obstructed normal activities of Chinese frontier forces in the Donglang area recently, and the Chinese side had taken counter-measures.
It was in view of the above event, Geng has said, that for safety reasons, China had to put off arranging the Indian official pilgrims to enter China at the Nathu La Pass.
Geng has said the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary had been defined by treaties and that the Indian government had repeatedly confirmed in writing that there was no objection.
China was reportedly trying to build a road till the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction. This would have a grave security implication for India as it will give the Chinese easy access to the critical Siliguri Corridor, the so-called chicken neck that connects the northeastern states to the rest of India.
India’s PTI news agency Jun 27 cited Chinese PLA as alleging Jun 26 that the Indian military had stopped the construction of a road in what it claimed to be China’s “sovereign territory” and that the move has “seriously damaged” border peace and tranquillity. It cited Chinese defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang as saying China had recently begun the construction of a road in DongLang region, but was stopped by Indian troops crossing the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The PTI report said the road was being constructed by the Chinese in the Sikkim section of the India-Tibet border.
The report said, citing official sources in New Delhi, that the incident happened in the first week of June near the Lalten post in the Doka La general area in Sikkim after a face-off between the two forces, which triggered tension along the Sino-Indian frontier. After the scuffle, the PLA entered Indian territory and damaged two make-shift bunkers of the Army.
This report said that after the India-China war of 1962, the area had been under the Indian Army and the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force), which had a camp 15 km from the international border.
Geng has said the issue was being discussed by the foreign ministries of the two countries.
The Nathu La Pass sits 4,545 meters above mean sea level and is wedged between Yadong (or Dromo) County in Shigatse (Chinese: Xigaze) Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region, and India’s Sikkim State.