New Delhi: Reacting to Indian envoy Gautam Bambawale’s warning to Beijing against any attempt to change the present state of affairs on the plateau, China on Monday said that Doklam was a “Chinese territory” and the question of changing the status quo does not arise.
“Regarding the border issue, China is committed to maintaining peace, stability and tranquillity there and Donglang (Doklam) belongs to China as we have historical conventions. So China`s activity there is within its sovereign rights. There is no such thing as changing the status quo,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
“Last year, thanks to our concerted efforts, our diplomatic efforts and wisdom that we properly resolved this issue. We hope the Indian side could learn some lessons from this, stick to historical conventions and work with China to ensure the peace and stability in the border area as well as a good atmosphere for the development of bilateral ties,” she added.
Talking about the delimitation of the boundary, Hua said, “China`s position is clear and consistent. The east, middle and western side is yet to be officially demarcated. China is committed to resolving the relevant dispute through negotiations,” IANS reported.
In an interview to Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, Bambawale had said that any attempt to change the status quo in Doklam would lead to another stand-off.
The ambassador, however, had added that both the nations were well within their rights for an Army build up behind the point of the face-off and the status quo in Doklam remained in place.
Bambawale had also stressed the need to demarcate the 3,448-km-long disputed border, which is the root cause of friction between India and China.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said on Sunday that India was “alert” and ready to deal with any “unforeseen situation” in Doklam. She had also said that the government is constantly working towards modernisation of forces.
“We are alert and ready for any unforeseen situation in Doklam. We are constantly working towards the modernisation of our forces. We will maintain our territorial integrity,” she had told reporters in Dehradun on the sidelines of a function to honour families of distinguished Armymen, war widows and veterans, as per PTI.
On March 5, 2018, Sitharaman had said that Indian and Chinese troops had “redeployed” themselves away from the face-off site in Doklam and China had undertaken construction of helipads, sentry posts and trenches for its army personnel there.
“Post disengagement from the face-off in 2017, troops of both sides have redeployed themselves away from their respective positions at the face-off site. The strength of both sides have been reduced,” she had said replying to a question on the issue in Lok Sabha. “In order to maintain these troops during the winter, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has undertaken construction of some infrastructure, including sentry posts, trenches and helipads,” Sitharaman had added.
Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam from June 16, 2017, after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. The face-off had ended on August 28, 2017.