China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

Nearly two months af­ter In­dia sent its troops across the Sikkim sec­tion of the bor­der with China into the Donglang area, trig­ger­ing a stand­off be­tween Chinese and In­dian sol­diers, New Delhi has continued to drag its feet over pulling its tres­pass­ing troops back onto In­dian soil de­spite the re­peated protests and warn­ings Bei­jing has made. One of the ex­cuses In­dia has given for its troops cross­ing the long de­lim­ited bor­der is that Donglang is a ter­ri­tory con­tested by China and Bhutan, and it is stand­ing up for its small ally against what it claims is China’s bul­ly­ing of Bhutan.

The logic is ridicu­lous, even dan­ger­ous as the premise for ac­tion, since it sets a bad prece­dent of a regional power send­ing troops onto for­eign soil in the name of pro­tect­ing a third party’s sovereignty.

Ac­tu­ally, as friendly neigh­bor­ing coun­tries, China and Bhutan — though they are yet to es­tab­lish diplo­matic re­la­tions be­cause of In­dia’s in­ter­ven­tions — have agreed to solve their bor­der dis­putes through talks and con­sul­ta­tions.

So far 24 rounds of bor­der ne­go­ti­a­tions have been held and there are am­ple rea­sons to be­lieve they will yield re­sults if In­dia stops throw­ing wrenches in the works.

Although Bhutan is yet to make a pub­lic state­ment, un­der­stand­ably given In­dia’s in­volve­ment, in a de­vel­op­ment that may come as a slap on the face of In­dia, Bhutan has con­veyed to Bei­jing through non-diplo­matic chan­nels that the area of the stand­off is not its ter­ri­tory, the Press Trust of In­dia re­ported on Tues­day, quot­ing Wang Wenli, deputy head of the De­part­ment of Bound­ary and Ocean Af­fairs of the Chinese For­eign Min­istry.

In­stead of mend­ing its ways and with­draw­ing its troops im­me­di­ately from Chinese ter­ri­tory as Bei­jing has re­peat­edly urged, In­dia seems to be pre­par­ing for the “long haul”. It is re­pair­ing its roads to the rear of the stand­off, stock­ing up on sup­plies and mass­ing a large num­ber of armed per­son­nel, ac­cord­ing to the Chinese For­eign Min­istry.

The ad­ven­tur­ous tres­pass­ing by In­dia can be at­trib­uted to its sense of in­se­cu­rity given the friendly re­la­tions be­tween China and Pak­istan, but such con­cerns do not jus­tify its ris­ing chau­vin­ism, which means it sees its small neigh­bor Bhutan as a vas­sal state rather than a sov­er­eign and in­de­pen­dent na­tion.

China has a strong will to solve the prob­lem peace­fully, but In­dia keeps pay­ing lip ser­vice to that by re­fus­ing to with­draw its tres­pass­ing troops. In­dia should be fully aware of the con­se­quences if it per­sists with its reck­less be­hav­ior.

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