NEWDELHI/BEIJING: India expressed serious concern on Friday over Chinese construction activities in Donglang area, saying they amount to a “significant change of status quo” even as Beijing insisted the standoff in Sikkim sector could only be resolved by New Delhi recalling its troops to their original positions.
In a riposte to the Chinese military’s warning that India should learn lessons from the 1962 border conflict and not clamour for war, defence minister Arun Jaitley said circumstances had changed over the past five decades: “If they are trying to remind us, the situation in 1962 was different, the India of today is different.”
Jaitley said at a media event that Bhutan had accused China of trying to change the status quo by claiming Bhutanese territory, and this was “absolutely wrong”. He added, “It is Bhutan’s land, close to the Indian border, and Bhutan and India have an arrangement to provide security.”
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang brushed aside questions on Donglang mountain pass being at the centre of a territorial dispute between China and Bhutan, and said the region was an “indisputable” part of China. Indian troops had “trespassed” into the area on June 18, Lu told a news briefing. Bhutan claims the area.
“So the most pressing issue is the withdrawal of troops into the Indian territory. That is the precondition for any meaningful dialogue,” Lu said.
In New Delhi, the external affairs ministry said in a statement it was “deeply concerned at the recent Chinese actions” as the construction represents a “significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India”.
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