Ten­sion mounts between na­tions over mil­i­tary bor­der cross­ing

New Straits Times - - World -

CHINA ac­cused In­dia yes­ter­day of “con­coct­ing” ex­cuses over the il­le­gal en­try of the South Asian na­tion’s mil­i­tary into Chi­nese ter­ri­tory on their dis­puted bor­der, adding that China had shown great re­straint.

The stand-off on a plateau next to the moun­tain­ous Indian state of Sikkim, which bor­ders China, has ratch­eted up ten­sion between the neigh­bours, who share a 3,500km fron­tier, large parts of which are dis­puted.

Early in June, ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese in­ter­pre­ta­tion of events, Indian guards crossed into China’s Donglang re­gion and ob­structed work on a road on the plateau.

The two sides’ troops then con­fronted each other close to a val­ley con­trolled by China that sep­a­rates In­dia from its close ally, Bhutan, and gives China ac­cess to the so-called Chicken’s Neck, a thin strip of land con­nect­ing In­dia and its re­mote north­east­ern re­gions.

In­dia had said it warned China the road con­struc­tion would have se­ri­ous se­cu­rity im­pli­ca­tions.

In a state­ment, China’s For­eign Min­istry said the Indian mil­i­tary was still in Chi­nese ter­ri­tory, and that China had acted with a great deal of re­straint, de­mand­ing that In­dia with­draw its forces.

“But the Indian side not only has not taken any ac­tual steps to cor­rect its mis­take, it has con­cocted all sorts of rea­sons that don’t have a leg to stand on, to make up ex­cuses for the Indian mil­i­tary’s il­le­gal cross­ing of the bor­der.”

The min­istry re­it­er­ated that the bor­der had been agreed in 1890 by the gov­ern­ments of China and Bri­tain, In­dia’s colo­nial ruler un­til 1947, and later with the Indian gov­ern­ment.

In­dia’s ac­tions were not only a se­ri­ous en­croach­ment of Chi­nese ter­ri­tory, but a chal­lenge to re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity and nor­mal in­ter­na­tional or­der, it said.

Indian of­fi­cials said about 300 sol­diers from ei­ther side were fac­ing each other about 150m apart on the plateau.

They had said both sides’ diplo­mats had qui­etly en­gaged to try to en­sure the stand-off does not es­ca­late, and that In­dia’s am­bas­sador to Bei­jing is lead­ing the ef­fort to find a way for both sides to back down from con­fronta­tion with­out los­ing face. Reuters


A Chi­nese sol­dier (left) ges­tur­ing to an Indian sol­dier at the Nathu La bor­der cross­ing between In­dia and China in In­dia’s north­east­ern Sikkim state in 2008.

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