Beijing, Aug 2 (IANS) China on Wednesday said it told India in advance about its road building activity in Doklam on the border and again asked New Delhi to withdraw its troops immediately from the area.
Beijing sought to firm up its claim over the disputed region by citing a document of 2006, according to which India and China agreed on the boundary alignment in the Sikkim sector where their armies are now locked in a stand-off.
In a 15-page document, the Chinese Foreign Ministry also said the number of Indian troops in Doklam since the beginning of the crisis in mid-June had fallen from 270 to 40 by the end of July. Indian officials deny any pullout has taken place.
The document entailed a map, picture and excerpts of letter exchanged between Jawaharlal Nehru and Zhou En-lai to back its claim over Doklam.
It cited a “non-paper” which, Beijing claims, was provided by the Indian side during the Meeting of the Working Teams of the Special Representatives on China-India Boundary Question in May 2006.
“Both sides agree on the boundary alignment in the Sikkim Sector,” the document quoted the “non-paper” as saying. In diplomacy, a non-paper is an informal document.
India says it forged an agreement with China and Bhutan in 2012 to decide the ownership of Doklam. Beijing refuses to acknowledge the agreement.
The stand-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers began after Indian troops stopped Chinese troops from constructing a road in Doklam.
Both China and Bhutan claim Doklam. India supports Bhutan’s claims and sees the road up to Doklam as a threat to its security.
The document said China’s road building was in its own territory and that India was informed in advance.
“China did not cross the boundary in its road building, and it notified India in advance in full reflection of China’s goodwill.”
Beijing, which earlier said it won’t talk to New Delhi until the Indian troops leave, also hinted that the two sides were in touch to resolve the dispute.
“Since the incident occurred, China has shown utmost goodwill and great restraint and sought to communicate with India through diplomatic channels to resolve the incident.”
India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi met last week on the sidelines of the BRICS security meet and discussed major problems between both countries.
The document said “no country should ever underestimate the resolve of the Chinese government and people to defend China’s territorial sovereignty”.
The document dismissed Indian claims that China was attempting to change the status quo of the border region with the road.
It said Indian troops “transgressing” into Chinese territory was “indeed a real attempt to change the status quo of the boundary, and it has gravely undermined peace and tranquility of the China-India border area”.
It dismissed India’s contention that the road building at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan had serious security implications for New Delhi.
“To cross a delimited boundary and enter the territory of a neighbouring country on the grounds of so-called ‘security concerns’, for whatever activities, runs counter to the basic principles of international law and basic norms governing international relations.
“No such attempt will be tolerated by any sovereign state, still less should it be the normal way of conduct between China and India as two neighbouring states.”
The document maintained that China had no issues with Bhutan and both sides were deliberating on the boundary issue and this was of no concern to India.
“The China-Bhutan boundary issue is one between China and Bhutan. It has nothing to do with India. As a third party, India has no right to interfere in or impede the boundary talks between China and Bhutan, still less the right to make territorial claims on Bhutan’s behalf.
“The incident took place on the Chinese side of the delimited boundary. India should immediately and unconditionally withdraw its trespassing border troops back to the Indian side of the boundary. This is a prerequisite and basis for resolving the incident.”