Last update06:25:38 AM GMT

Tension arises between India and China over the Sikkim - Tibet border

The PLA spokesman said, the purpose is to test the parameters of the equipment and is not targeted against any country. Photo: File
Dharamshala — In the past 50 years, India and China have been involved in several border disputes, quarrels, and conflicts but the most recent dispute has emerged not over territories of Arunachal Pradesh or Ladakh, but the state of Sikkim, which has now became conflict.

On June 26th, Monday, it was reported by the Indian media that Chinese troops had penetrated India, into Sikkim and scrambled with the Indian Army personnel who are responsible for guarding the Sino-India frontier, and additionally, destroyed two bunkers. It has been claimed that the quarrel has been ongoing in the Doka La area since June 16th.

The matter in question is that of India’s objection to the Chinese building a road in the Sikkim sector of the border. India’s claims that the region comes under its jurisdiction have been negated by China, who claims that the area is irrefutably located on their side of the border in accordance with the Sino-British Treaty, 1890.

India is yet to issue an official statement regarding the border dispute, but the altercation has led to the cancellation of the Mansarovar Yatra pilgrimage through the Nathu-la route.

‘The incident took place in the Doko-La (or Donglong)tri-junction area, where India had earlier objected to the road that China is building towards Bhutan. The Chinese claim that they were constructing the road within their territory, which led to jostling between the two sides and demolition of the bunker.’

The public became aware of the dispute when the Indian pilgrims on route to KailashMansarovar were sent back from the Nathu-la border by the Chinese. The second pilgrimage route had been started after a request from Prime Minister NarendraModi to Chinese President Xi Jinping three years ago. Hence, the retrenchment of the pilgrimage is considered to have been a major escalation by the Chinese, especially since such birder disputes have been said to be saved from over spilling into the bilateral relations of the two countries.

What is significantly alarming about this dispute is the location: the Sikkim sector. The past border disputes between the two countries have taken place in the eastern and western sectors, where the estimation of the boundaries are unresolved.

According to the Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesperson, Lu Kang, the temporary elimination of the pilgrimage route was “an emergency response to the situation there. I want to stress that Indian pilgrims’ trip to Xi Zang [the Tibet Autonomous Region] requires necessary atmosphere and conditions. The Indian side is to blame for the trip not being able to take place as scheduled. As for when the pilgrimage route will reopen, it totally depends on whether the Indian side can correct its mistake in time,” he said.

According to Ranjit S. Kalha, a former Indian secretary of the external affairs ministry, “the Sikkim-Tibet sector of the boundary has already been negotiated under the Anglo-Chinese Convention of 1890 and demarcated in 1895.”

“The Chinese ministry of foreign affairs, in its note of 26 December 1959 addressed to the embassy of India, confirmed the position by stating that ‘the boundary between China and Sikkim has long been formally delimited and there is neither any discrepancy between the maps nor any disputes in practice,” Kalha wrote last month in Mint, responding to media reports about the Chinese ambassador in Delhi’s “strangest” proposal for “early demarcation of the Sikkim-Tibet boundary.”


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