DOKALAM CLAIMS AND COUNTER-CLAIMS No Easy An­swers as China Quotes 1890, In­dia 2012 Pact

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

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.

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