China has called on India to withdraw its troops from a Himalayan region, disputed by both China and New Delhi’s ally Bhutan, vowing that it will defend its sovereignty “at whatever cost.”
“The crossing of the mutually recognized national borders on the part of India… is a serious violation of China’s territory and runs against the international law,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a press conference on Monday.
A standoff broke out between New Delhi and Beijing on June 18, when Indian troops moved into Doklam, a remote plateau in the Himalayas, to stop the Chinese army from building a road there.
Bhutan says China’s construction activities in the region are “a direct violation” of deals between the two sides. India, itself, has no claim to the territory and says it intervened in support of Bhutan’s interests.
The official further said China would step up its troop deployment to the region in the face of Indian meddling.
“Do not push your luck and cling to any fantasies,” the Chinese Defense Ministry official told the press conference, which marked the upcoming 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
“The history of the PLA over the past 90 years has proven our resolve to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity” he said, urging India not to underestimate Beijing’s determination to safeguard what it considers sovereign Chinese territory.
“Donglang [another name for Doklam] is China’s territory and China building a road on its territory is normal, which is an act of China’s sovereignty and is legitimate,” he said.
“China’s determination and resolve to safeguard national security and sovereignty is unshakable,” Wu added. “It is easier to shake a mountain than to shake the PLA.”
Heated rhetoric in both Beijing and New Delhi has raised concern over a renewal of hostilities that resulted in a short but deadly frontier war between the two sides in 1962, in which China emerged victorious.
The nuclear-armed powers share a 3,500-kilometer border, much of it is disputed between the two neighbors.
Categories: Asia-Middle East Relations