CHINA POLITICS: Beijing, India Unyielding Over a Piece of Himalayan Territory

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By Politicoscope August 3, 2017 18:22
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“The Indian side not only has not taken any actual steps to correct its mistake, it has concocted all sorts of reasons that don’t have a leg to stand on, to make up excuses for the Indian military’s illegal crossing of the border,” In a statement on Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry reiterated its call to India, saying it must remove its forces from what Beijing considers part of its territory.

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CHINA POLITICS: Beijing, India Unyielding Over a Piece of Himalayan Territory

Beijing and New Delhi are standing their ground, neither side yielding an inch in a dispute over a piece of Himalayan territory that flared up again a month ago. Could a war of words in an issue with former colonial fingerprints on it evolve into all-out war?

In a statement on Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry reiterated its call to India, saying it must remove its forces from what Beijing considers part of its territory.

“The Indian side not only has not taken any actual steps to correct its mistake, it has concocted all sorts of reasons that don’t have a leg to stand on, to make up excuses for the Indian military’s illegal crossing of the border,” it said.

India says its incursion across an internationally recognized border, launched on June 18, was meant to protect its close ally Bhutan from a Chinese attempt to change the status quo in the disputed part of the Himalayas known as Doklam. The deployment was prompted by construction work by Chinese military engineers, who, according to India, attempted to extend an old road deeper into the area.

British survey mistake?
India and China, two nuclear-armed Asian powerhouses, are no strangers to border conflicts. They have a shared frontier of 3,500km, large parts of which remain disputed, and fought a bloody war in 1962 over Aksai Chin, which resulted in victory for Beijing. More recently, major Sino-Indian border incidents happened in 2013 at Depsang and in 2014 at Chumar.

But Doklam, where the borders of China, India and Bhutan meet, had not been in the world media spotlight until the current standoff erupted in mid-June. Bhutan and China have held 24 rounds of discreet talks over the status of the area since 1890, when the seeds of the dispute were planted.

The conflict stems from the 19th-century Calcutta Convention between colonial Britain and Qing dynasty China, which demarked the border between Sikkim and Tibet. Sikkim was then a British protectorate and is now an Indian state. Bhutan was not part of the convention, but China uses its wording to determine where the triboundary point should be located. The convention arguably contradicts itself, being based on erroneous data provided by a British land survey.

Road rage
The trigger point of the current conflict was China’s decision to conduct road construction in Doklam. The work started on June 16 and its exact nature remains unclear. India insists that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was trying to extend a road southwards in a move which would significantly change the status quo.

– Reuters



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By Politicoscope August 3, 2017 18:22
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