Sikkim standoff: China warns India against military buildup, says its restraint has bottom line

China has said that it has shown "utmost goodwill" over the prolonged military standoff with India in the Sikkim sector but warned that its "restraint" has a "bottom line".

The reaction from the Chinese defence ministry on Thursday night came a day after the Indian external affairs ministry in a statement said that the peace and tranquillity of the India-China boundary constitute the important prerequisite for the smooth development of bilateral relations.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj last month made clear India's position on the over-a-month-long standoff in the Doka La area, saying both sides should first pull back their troops for any talks to take place, favouring a peaceful resolution.

The standoff began on 16 June after Chinese troops began constructing a road near the tri-junction with Bhutan, which India says was a unilateral action by Beijing to change the status quo in the area.

New Delhi fears the construction of the road would allow China to cut off India's access to its northeastern states. Ren Guoqiang, a spokesperson for the Chinese defence ministry, in a statement called on the Indian side to swiftly address the situation in a proper manner to restore peace and tranquillity in the border region.

"Since the incident occurred, China has shown utmost goodwill and sought to communicate with India through diplomatic channels to resolve the incident. Chinese armed forces have also shown a high level of restraint with an eye to the general bilateral relations and the regional peace and stability," Ren said, according to report in the state-run Xinhua news agency.

"However, goodwill has its principles and restraint has its bottom line," Ren added. The spokesperson urged the Indian side to give up the "illusion of its delaying tactic, as no country should underestimate the Chinese forces' confidence and capability to safeguard peace and their resolve and willpower to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests".

Ren said the Chinese armed forces will resolutely protect the country's territorial sovereignty and security interests. His comments also come after Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval met his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of a BRICS summit of NSAs from the member countries.

Meanwhile, China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday said that India has been building up troops and repairing roads along its side of the border amid an increasingly tense stand-off in a remote frontier region beside the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.

"It has already been more than a month since the incident, and India is still not only illegally remaining on Chinese territory, it is also repairing roads in the rear, stocking up supplies, massing a large number of armed personnel," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"This is certainly not for peace."

India has denied any such military buildup and, in a statement to parliament on Thursday evening, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj urged dialogue based on a written common understanding regarding the border intersection reached in 2012.

"India always believes that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border is an important pre-requisite for the smooth development of our bilateral relations," Swaraj said, according to a transcript of her remarks released by her office.

"We will continue to engage with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels to find a mutually acceptable solution."

With Inputs from agencies


Published Date: Aug 04, 2017 11:41 am | Updated Date: Aug 04, 2017 12:06 pm


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