China says India building up troops amid border stand off

Sushma Swaraj

Amid high-pitched Chinese rhetoric, India said today it continues to engage with China diplomatically and has been in close coordination with Bhutan in finding a mutually-acceptable solution to the Doklam standoff but did not give details of such interactions. As the world keeps a close watch amidst fears of the latest conflict between India and China boiling over into an all-out war, it is easy to forget that what is also at stake here is the sovereignty of an independent nation-Bhutan-caught in the crossfire. As far as economic strength is concerned, China is one of the leading countries among major contributors and economic partners.

Tensions between the neighbours have been high since 16 June, with Bhutan objecting to an attempt by Chinese troops to build a road on the Doklam plateau.

In a fresh salvo, an article in the Global Times has said that China will not let the Doklam standoff go on for too long and could take up a small military operation to oust the Indian soldiers from the region within two weeks. We believe that the PLA has made sufficient preparation for military confrontation. "If the Modi government refuses to stop, it will push its country into a war that India has no power to control." the state-run Chinese daily stated.

The article said that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) can easily and effectively destroy Indian troops at Doklam. "PM Narendra Modi should be aware of the [Chinese army]'s overwhelming firepower and logistics".

Beijing says Doklam is located in Tibet and that the border dispute between China and Bhutan has nothing to do with India. "So, a solution will definitely emerge if we engage in dialogue on bilateral relations", Swaraj said in Rajya Sabha. "If a war spreads, the PLA is perfectly capable of annihilating all Indian troops in the border region".

Beijing sees a clear demarcation of borders according to the 1890 treaty-claiming 89 sq km in the Doklam plateau south of where India sees the China-Bhutan border-but Delhi thinks Beijing is mistaken.

China has put its foot down and demanded that Indian troops be immediately withdrawn to end the military standoff. China cherishes the decade-long peace on the border and wishes not to break it.

"India, which has stirred up the incident, should bear all the consequences".

The Modi government's hard-line stance is sustained by neither laws nor strength. "This administration is recklessly breaking worldwide norms and jeopardizing India's national pride and peaceful development", the article said.

Asked about India's position following the release of a 15-page document by China on the issue, Baglay referred to his statement on Wednesday wherein he said that "India considers that peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas is an important pre-requisite for smooth development of our bilateral relations with China".

"It has already been more than a month since the incident, and India is still not only illegally remaining on Chinese territory, it is also repairing roads in the rear, stocking up supplies, massing a large number of armed personnel".

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