New Delhi, Oct 8: A day after the maiden visit of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to the strategic Nathu La post at the Sikkim border, China asked India to abide by the 1890 border sharing convention inked between the Great Britain and China in 1890.
The “historic treaty”, China claims, should act as the final settlement for demarcating the 221-km border which separates Sikkim and Tibet. The 1890 pact was referred to on numerous occasions by Beijing during the 73-day standoff between Indian and Chinese troops close to the Doklam plateau in the region.
“It is the best testimony to this fact. We urge the Indian side to face the facts, abide by the provisions of the historic boundary treaty and the relevant agreement of the parties, and work together with the Chinese side to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a written response to news agency PTI, on being asked about Sitharaman’s visit to Nathu La post.
The remarks of China comes a day after it advocated for strong bilateral ties with India, asserting that the pending bilateral issues should not hurt the economic prospects of people on both sides of the border.
“Health and stable relationship with India would serve our mutual interests,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry had said. However, it had expressed apprehension over the statement of Indian Air Marshal Chief B S Dhanoa.
The IAF chief, while addressing the media earlier in the week, said the forces are prepared for a “two-front war”, referring to the joint challenge posed by allies Pakistan and China on the western and north-eastern front respectively.
“We hope that relevant people of the Indian military will see the historical trend and say more conducive to the development of China-India relations,” Beijing said, marking its dissent.
The relations between India and China passed through a turbulent phase over the past few months, with the stand-off at Doklam pushing both the sides towards intense sabre-rattling. The row erupted after the road construction party of China’s PLA was prevented by Indian troops to construct road in the Doklam region, which Bhutan claims as its own.
The troops gradually disengaged after August 28, following hectic use of diplomatic channels between the two nations.
The Nathu La Pass, which was thrown open for Indian pilgrims by the Chinese side for Kailash and Mansarovar pilgrimage earlier in the year, was closed after the standoff erupted in Doklam. Despite the disengagement, the route is yet to be opened.