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India Warns China on Road Construction, Says Don't Change 'Status Quo'

India on Friday said it is “deeply concerned” by recent Chinese actions in Doklam area.

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Updated:June 30, 2017, 3:30 PM IST
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India Warns China on Road Construction, Says Don't Change 'Status Quo'
File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and MoS VK Singh. (PTI)
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New Delhi: India on Friday said it is “deeply concerned” by recent Chinese actions in Doklam area. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that Indian personnel tried to dissuade the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from building a road in Doklam area.

The Ministry of External Affairs said that road construction would represent significant change of status quo with security implications for India. “India is 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 MEA statement said.

A Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on 26 June 2017 alleged that Indian border troops crossed the boundary line in the Sikkim sector and entered Chinese territory.

The MEA says that on 16 June, a PLA construction party entered the Doklam area and attempted to construct a road. A Royal Bhutan Army patrol attempted to dissuade them from this, while the Ambassador of the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGOB) publicly stated that it lodged a protest with the Chinese Government through their Embassy in New Delhi on 20 June.

“On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry of Bhutan issued a statement underlining that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the 1988 and 1998 agreements between Bhutan and China and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between these two countries. They have urged a return to the status quo as before 16 June 2017,” said the MEA.

The MEA clarifies that Indian personnel only intervened after Bhutan’s protest and approached the Chinese construction party and urged them to desist from changing the status quo. MEA adds that Delhi and Beijing remain under discussion at the diplomatic level in the Foreign Ministries since the incident.

“It is essential that all parties concerned display utmost restraint and abide by their respective bilateral understandings not to change the status quo unilaterally. It is also important that the consensus reached between India and China through the Special Representatives process is scrupulously respected by both sides,” said MEA.

“India cherishes peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas. It has not come easily. India is committed to working with China to find peaceful resolution of all issues in the border areas through dialogue,” the MEA added.

In the wake of the face-off, the Kailash Mansarovar yatra through Nathu La in Sikkim has been cancelled. The move will come as a disappointment to the 800 devotees hoping to visit the high altitude area, believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva, following an arduous trek along the Nathu La route.

China on Thursday asked India to withdraw its troops from the Donglong area in Sikkim sector as a precondition for a "meaningful dialogue" to settle the boundary issue, warning that the Indian Army should learn "historical lessons", in an oblique reference to the 1962 war.

In an unprecedented action, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang 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.
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