Amidst the continuing stand-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Doklam area, the Chinese embassy in Delhi has issued a 15-page statement reiterating its case and asking India to withdraw its soldiers from the area. It is extremely unusual for the embassy to issue such a statement when the Indian NSA Ajit Doval had travelled to Beijing last week and held discussions with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.
Moreover, India has not released any official statement after the one issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on June 30. On July 20, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj had made a short statement in Parliament in reply to a question about China.
Providing the historical context and its arguments based on the 1890 Agreement between UK and China, the Chinese statement alleges that Indian soldiers “have illegally crossed the China-India boundary in the Sikkim sector and entered the Chinese territory”.
The statement also gives out the details of the standoff, when 270 Indian soldiers moved down from Doka La post on June 18 to stop the Chinese from constructing the motorable road in what India believes to be Bhutanese territory. The number of Indian soldiers went up to 400, and three tents were also pitched by them as part of the stand-off. The statement claims there were still over 40 Indian soldiers and one bulldozer in the area, stopping the Chinese road construction party.
The statement, which is accompanied by a map of the area, two pictures and the text of the 1890 agreement, ends by asking India to “ immediately withdraw its trespassing border troops to the Indian side of the boundary and conduct a thorough investigation into the trespass”. India has not officially responded to the statement so far.