China warns India, asks not to harbour illusions about Doklam

Beijing: The Chinese military on Monday asked India not to harbour any “illusions” about its resolve to protect China’s sovereignty, the latest warning to come from Beijing on the Doklam border standoff that is in its second month.

For more than five weeks, the two countries (China and India) have been involved in a stand-off along a part of their 3,500 kilometres shared border. Since both the countries are populous and have very robust economies, and have fought a war over border disputes in 1962, the stand-off has attracted global media attention.

Both India and China have rushed more troops to the border as the divide between the two neighbouring countries is turning out to be one of the longest since the India-China war of 1962.

The People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest armed force, said its capability to protect China’s territory was “indomitable” and it was ready to step up deployment on the plateau, which is close to India’s northeastern state of Sikkim.

“The willingness and resolve of China to defend its sovereignty is indomitable and we will safeguard our sovereignty whatever the cost,” defence ministry spokesman and deputy director-general of information office Col Wu Qian said in response to a question on the border row on Monday.

The Chinese troops had undertaken emergency response measures and would step up deployment and drills in the area, he said.

Border guards of the two countries are locked in a standoff since June 16, with China accusing India of trespass and preventing its soldiers from building a road.

Bhutan and India maintain that Doklam, or Donglang as the Chinese call it, is a Bhutanese territory.

The withdrawal of Indian soldiers was a precondition for resolving the situation, he said. “India should not leave things to luck and not harbour any unrealistic illusions,” Wu said.

India has said China should withdraw troops from the trijunction for the two sides to talk. New Delhi also says the road, if built, will have serious security implications for India.

Donglang was Chinese territory and building a road on its territory was an act of sovereignty, Wu said.

“The crossing of the mutually recognised international border by India is a serious violation of China’s territory and runs against international law,” he said.

China strongly urged India to withdraw its troops and take concrete measures to correct “its errors and put an end to its provocative acts” to maintain peace in border areas.

Wu was speaking at a specially convened briefing to mark the 90the anniversary of the PLA on August 1.

The anniversary could be the reason for China’s unusually aggressive and often provocative statements on the standoff – Beijing wants the armed forces to be seen as a strong unit working under the Communist Party of China, which holds its 19th congress this year.

“The history of the PLA of past 90 years has proven our resolve to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity, and our capability and resolve are indomitable,” Wu said.

The PLA has been flexing muscles to coincide with the impasse, conducting large-scale military exercises, including “live-fire” drills, in Tibet close to the Indian frontier.

China, on Saturday, said that there is “no room” for negotiations to resolve the military face-off, and that the only solution is the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Donglang or Doklam region.

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