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China raises decibel over border stand off

IANS | New Delhi |

The Chinese Embassy on Thursday described India's claim of Doklam region belonging to Bhutan as "groundless" and said that for any meaningful dialogue Indian troops must pull back from the area "unconditionally and immediately".

Li Ya, Political Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy, in a video message said, "On June 18, Indian border troops crossed the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary triggering a close range face-off."

He said the Sikkim sector is "delimited" by the 1890 Sino-Britain convention relating to Tibet and Sikkim. 

"In essence, China's territorial sovereignty has been undermined by the Indian border troops," the Chinese official said, repeating the accusations levelled by the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing.

The Chinese political counsellor said that following the face-off the Indian side has claimed that Doklam belongs to Bhutan and that China "changed the status quo" of the area and New Delhi cited its security concern. 

He said India has given "three major arguments to justify its trespassing into Chinese territory".

Li, who claimed that he has first-hand knowledge of the area, said that based on his knowledge and work "for the past decade" India's "position is groundless". 

Reiterating what the Chinese Foreign Ministry has been stressing in its briefings in Beijing, Li said "Doklam belongs to China".

"We have strong evidence to prove that Doklam belongs to China. Doklam has always been the traditional pasture for Chinese border inhabitants. The archives of Xizang Autonomous region still retain some receipts of the grass tax paid by Bhutanese herdsmen," he claimed.

"Today the Chinese border troops still patrol there and the herdsmen graze their livestock there, and production and living facilities have been built there," he said. 

On India maintaining that China is changing the status quo of the region, he said that "since Doklam is part of Chinese territory, the activities conducted by China in Doklam are within China's sovereignty". 

"It is the Indian side that trespassed into Chinese territory and changed the status quo," he alleged. 

"As to Indian security concerns, India crossed a delimited boundary into another country's territory in the name of security concerns, no matter what kind of activities it conducts there, which will not be acceptable to any sovereign state." 

"As far as the solution is concerned, the Indian border troops must pull back to the Indian side of the boundary unconditionally and immediately. That is the precondition for any meaningful dialogue between China and India," Li added.