DOKALAM CLAIMS AND COUNTER-CLAIMS No Easy Answers as China Quotes 1890, India 2012 Pact
boundary question in December 2012, when then NSA Shivshankar Menon was SR. Point 13 of the common understanding states that “the tri-junction boundary points between India, China and third countries will be finalised in consultation with the concerned countries”. Since 2012, India and China have not held any discussion on the trijunction with Bhutan. The Chinese action in the Dokalam area is, therefore, an attempt to bilaterally relating to Tibet and Sikkim signed in 1890”. Therefore, 1890 Pact is not the final document and rather CAN be the basis for finalisation of Sino-Indian boundary (currently partofLineofActualControl)inthe Sikkim sector.
By asserting that the boundary in the Sikkim sector is delimited under the 1890 Pact, China is portraying that Indian troops have crossed intoChineseterritoryintoDoklam. However, Doklam is in Bhutan and at a trijunction, yet to be settled by the three sides. During the Eighth SR meeting in June 2006, the Chinese side had, in fact, handed over a non-paper for separate agreement on the boundary in the Sikkim sector. The non-paper had proposed that “both sides may, based on the above mentioned historical treaty i.e. 1890 Convention, verify and determine the specific alignment of the Sikkim sector and produce a common record”.
Both sides may negotiate a final agreement on the boundary alignment in the Sikkim sector to replace the historical treaty. Subsequently, in the SR meeting the Chinese side has made the proposal for finalising the boundary in Sikkim sector, terming it as an early harvest of the SR process, which clearly confirms thattheboundaryintheSikkimsector is not yet finalised. “Otherwise, they would not have used this term ‘early harvest’ as we say ‘low hanging fruit’,” Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj pointed out in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.