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  India   All India  30 Jun 2017  Army Chief in Sikkim; China toughens stand

Army Chief in Sikkim; China toughens stand

Published : Jun 30, 2017, 4:39 am IST
Updated : Jun 30, 2017, 5:23 am IST

Indian Army should learn from ‘historical lessons’: China

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat (Photo: PTI)
 Army Chief General Bipin Rawat (Photo: PTI)

Beijing/Gangtok/New Delhi: As top Indian commanders briefed Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Thursday on the tense security situation between Indian troops and Chinese military over a disputed area in the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction, China asked India to withdraw its troops from the Donglong area as a precondition for “meaningful dialogue” to settle the boundary issue.

While warning that the Indian Army should learn from “historical lessons”, in an oblique reference to the 1962 war, Beijing also rejected as “extremely irresponsible” the Army chief’s recent remarks that India is ready for a “two-and-a-half front war”, and asked him to “stop clamouring for war”.

General Rawat, who is on a two-day visit to Sikkim, had said that India is prepared for security threats posed by China, Pakistan as well as by internal threats.

“We hope that the particular person in the Indian Army could learn from historical lessons and stop such clamouring for war,” the People’s Liberation Army spokesman Col Wu Qian said when asked to respond to General Rawat’s remarks.

“Such rhetoric is extremely irresponsible,” he added.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, meanwhile, in an unprecedented action, displayed a photograph of Indian “incursion” into Donglong area and said the dispute which is becoming a confrontation of sorts between the troops on the ground can only be settled by the withdrawal of Indian soldiers from the area.

“Since the illegal trespass happened we have lodged solemn representations with the Indian side in both New Delhi and Beijing,” Mr Lu said, showing the photograph from the podium.

He said the photographs will be displayed on the foreign ministry’s website later.

“The diplomatic channel for communication remains unimpeded. We urged the Indian side to withdraw troops back to the Indian side of the boundary immediately. This is the precondition for the settlement of this incident and also the basis for us to conduct any meaningful dialogue,” he said.

The border standoff began on June 17, with China’s attempts to build a road at the strategically key area of Donglong. Indian official sources said that China had removed an old bunker of the Indian Army in Donglong by using a bulldozer after India refused to accede to its request.

Besides taking stock of various operational aspects, the Army Chief on Thursday also visited areas under the 17 Mountain Division which is mandated to guard the Indo-China border in Sikkim. Of the 3,488-km India-China border, the section in Sikkim is 220-km long.

Tags: bipin rawat, indian troops, 1962 war
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi