Home / Politics / Policy /  Sikkim standoff: Ball in India’s court to resolve Doka La issue, says China envoy

New Delhi: China on Tuesday ruled out a compromise in the military standoff with India at Doka La in Sikkim and put the onus on New Delhi to resolve the “grave" situation.

In an interview to PTI, Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui said “the ball is in India’s court" and it was for the Indian government to decide what options could be on the table to resolve the standoff.

When asked about remarks by official Chinese media and Chinese think-tanks that the conflict can lead to a “war" if not handled properly, the ambassador said: “There has been talk about this option, that option. It is up to your government policy (whether to exercise military option)."

“The Chinese government is very clear that it wants peaceful resolution at current state of the situation for which withdrawal of Indian troops from the area is a “pre- condition," Luo said. “The first priority is that the Indian troops unconditionally pull back to the Indian side of the boundary. That is the precondition for any meaningful dialogue between China and India," he said.

China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Dokalam area near the Bhutan trijunction for the past 19 days after a Chinese army’s construction party came to build a road.

Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognizes as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.

China and Bhutan are engaged in talks over the resolution of the area. Bhutan, however, has no diplomatic ties with China and it is supported militarily and diplomatically by India.

The standoff comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping of China are set to cross paths in Hamburg at the G20 meeting of developed and developing countries on 7-8 July. India’s foreign ministry has not made it clear if the two leaders are meeting on the sidelines of the G20 meet. But a meeting of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa or BRICS leaders is expected to take place on the sidelines of the G20 conclave.

Also Read : Sikkim-Tibet border: an historical perspective

“The situation is grave and made me deeply worried. It is the first time that Indian troops have crossed the mutually recognized boundary and trespassed into China’s territory, triggering a close range face off between Chinese and Indian border troops. Now 19 days have passed, but the situation still has not eased," Luo said.

According to India, while the status of Sikkim is recognized as being part of India, the boundary is not resolved between India and China. The tensions on the border have led to a sharpening of rhetoric between the two countries.

In his remarks, Luo said that India has no right to interfere with the China-Bhutan boundary talks, nor is it entitled to make territorial claims on behalf of Bhutan.

On the standoff, the ministry of external affairs had said India was “deeply concerned at the recent Chinese actions and has conveyed to the Chinese government that such construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India". The ministry did not comment on the Chinese ambassador’s remarks on Tuesday.

“As for the so-called ‘security concerns’ of the Indian side, India has crossed a delimited boundary into other 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," Luo said.

“India cannot encroach upon the territory of other countries on the ground of its ‘security concerns’. Otherwise, the world would be in chaos," he said, adding, “It is critical that India shall withdraw its troops immediately to minimize the negative impact."

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