Sikkim spat: Back off, says China as it rebuffs Jaitley's 1962 war remark

Arun Jaitley
The Chinese foreign ministry today dismissed Defence Minister Arun Jaitley's remarks that India of 2017 is different from what it was in 1962, saying China too is different and will take "all necessary measures" to safeguard its territorial sovereignty.

Jaitley who responded to China's oblique reference to the war the two countries had fought 55 years ago and asking India to learn from "historic lessons", had said, "If they are trying to remind us, the situation in 1962 was different and India of 2017 is different."

He had also said that the current standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim sector was triggered by Beijing.

Responding to Jaitley's remarks, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, "He is right in saying that India in 2017 is different from 1962, just like China is also different."

He said the border between the two nations in the Sikkim sector is well demarcated under the 1890 Sino-British Treaty.

"I would like the Indian side to respect the 1890 treaty immediately and pull back the border troops which have crossed into Chinese territory back to the Indian side of the boundary.

"China will take all necessary measures to safeguard its territorial sovereignty," he warned.

Geng also accused India of using Bhutan as a "cover up" for the "illegal entry" into the Doklam area over which Bhutan has lodged a protest with the Chinese government.

"In order to cover up the illegal entry of the Indian border troops, to distort the fact and even at the expense of Bhutan's independence and sovereignty, they try to confuse right from wrong, that is futile," Geng said.

He said China has "no objection to normal bilateral relations between India and Bhutan but firmly opposed to the Indian side infringing on Chinese territory using Bhutan as an excuse."

"The Bhutan side does not know previously that the Indian troops entered into the Doklam area, which is not in line with what is claimed by the Indian side," Geng said.

Asked whether any talks are going on between India and China to resolve the Sikkim standoff, Geng said, "After the illegal entry of border took place, China has lodged solemn representations at different levels with the Indian side in Delhi and Beijing."

"The line of diplomatic communication between two sides is open and smooth," he said.

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