BEIJING - The Chinese Foreign Minister spokesperson on Thursday once again urged India to respect China’s territorial sovereignty and withdraw its troops from the Sikkim section of Sino-India border.

 “We again urged the Indian side to abide by the historical boundary convention, respect China’s territorial sovereignty and withdraw troops back to Indian side of boundary to avoid any escalation and bring this standoff to impassive position,” Lu Kang said during his regular press briefing.

Reacting to a statement made by Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat after arriving in the Sikkim capital about the standoff which was different from what reported by Indian media, he said: “We have said clearly that reality is that Indian border troops illegally trespassed into the territory of China across the Sikkim section.”

Lu added: “Mr Rawat’s remarks also proved that previous report by the Indian media regarding trespassing by Indian troops was not true. The truth cannot be covered up. The Sikkim sector of the China-India border had very clear legal basis.”

According to the convention between China and Great Britain relating to Sikkim and Tibet in 1890, the area trespassed by the Indian troops belonged to China, he said, adding that this is ‘undeniable fact that Indian troops have trespassed the boundary and it is violating our historical boundary convention as well as  the promises by the previous Indian governments’.

The spokesperson said: “This is just a sovereign action by China to conduct the road construction in its own territory. Since the illegal trespass happened, the Chinese side had lodged the solemn representations with the Indian side in Beijing and New Delhi.

INP reported the spokesman as saying that India should be blamed for the shutdown of pilgrimage route to Tibet, which is unlikely to be reopened if the Indian side cannot correct its mistake in a timely manner.

“I want to stress that Indian pilgrims’ trip to Xi Zang requires necessary atmosphere and conditions. The Indian side is to blame for the trip not being able to take place as scheduled,” Lu said.

“The Chinese side has made enormous efforts against all odds to facilitate Indian officially-organized pilgrims’ trip to Xi Zang (Tibet). The arrangements ran well over the past two years, and the relevant department of China has previously made preparation for this year’s reception,” said Lu.

He also denounced third-party attempts to complicate the situation, as some foreign reports have been hyping-up Doklam, the area where the standoff took place, as a disputed region between China and Bhutan.

According to Reuters, India’s army chief visited the mountainous state of Sikkim bordering China, where tensions have flared after Beijing accused New Delhi of sending troops into its territory and obstructing the construction of a road. A spokesman for the Indian army said the one-day trip was “routine” and planned before the recent tensions.

India accused of hidden agenda

China has virtually accused India of having a “hidden agenda” as it stated that Indian troops had stopped PLA soldiers from building a road in Donglang, a region at the centre of a long-standing dispute with Bhutan.

The foreign ministry accused Indian troops of trespassing into Chinese territory and said the alleged incursion was “totally different” from previous incidents. The ministry said the “liability” for resuming the suspended Kailash Mansarovar Yatra lay with India, which should correct its “errors”. Donglang, or Doklam, is Chinese territory and lies within the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) but is claimed by Bhutan. The area is located at the narrow and strategic tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan, a short distance from Nathu La pass.

“The region is part of China and is indisputable. It belongs to China from ancient times and it doesn’t belong to Bhutan. China’s construction is a legitimate activity,” spokesperson Lu said, reacting to a report in Hindustan Times that Bhutan could be key to the military stand-off.

 ‘Learn lessons from 1962 defeat’

India should learn lessons from its defeat in 1962 and stop clamouring for a war, China warned on Thursday, saying the precondition for settling the current stand-off in the Sikkim sector is that New Delhi withdraws its troops immediately.

According to NNI, China said its troops were building a road in its own territory and not on land that belonged to Bhutan, Hindustan Times reported on Thursday.

People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spokesperson Wu Qian was reacting to Indian Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat’s statement that India was ready to take on China, Pakistan and internal security issues.

“Such rhetoric is extremely irresponsible. We hope (the) particular person in the Indian Army could learn from historical lessons and stop such clamouring for war,” he said at the monthly defence ministry briefing in Beijing, indicating China’s aggressive position in the current dispute.