Beijing: India is not “entitled" to make claims on behalf of Bhutan, a commentary by a state-run Chinese news agency on Friday said, asserting that Doklam area in Sikkim sector where the Indian and Chinese soldiers are having face-off belongs to China.

After a three-week standoff with China on Chinese territory, India should immediately pull back its trespassing troops, the commentary by Xinhua news agency said.

The timing of the commentary coincided with the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany being attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The face-off was caused by Indian border guards who crossed the border at the Sikkim section into Chinese territory and obstructed routine road construction in the Doklam area of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region," said the Xinhua commentary, the second in the last few days.

It said that by creating disputes in Doklam, India seeks to obstruct border negotiations between China and Bhutan, and follow its own “ulterior motives" in the area. “The claim cannot hold water. Doklam has long been under the effective jurisdiction of China. Both Bhutan and China have a basic consensus on the functional conditions and demarcation of their border region," the commentary said.

“Moreover, India has no right to interfere in China- Bhutan boundary issues, nor is it entitled to make territorial claims on behalf of Bhutan," it said. India’s current actions have not only “encroached on China’s territorial sovereignty, but also impaired the independence of Bhutan", one of the world’s smallest countries, which is closely allied with India, it said.

“Chinese construction is being conducted within its own territory. It is India that has broken the status quo by trespassing onto Chinese soil. It is not acceptable to any sovereign country that India has crossed a demarcated border into another country on the grounds of its “security concerns," it said.

Indian troops should immediately withdraw to the Indian side of the border as a precondition for any meaningful dialogue between the two countries, it said. “It is clear that if the ‘Chinese Dragon’ and the ‘Indian Elephant’ co-exist harmoniously and achieve peaceful, cooperative development, it will benefit not only their combined 2.7 billion people, but also those living beyond their borders," it said. “Otherwise, a spiral of bilateral rivalry would definitely result in a slowdown in their growth", it said. PTI

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