Indian and Chinese soldiers have once again engaged in a major stand-off, this time in Sikkim sector, where troops from the neighbouring side entered and jostled with Indian Army personnel guarding the Sino-India frontier. Two bunkers of the Indian Army were also destroyed in Lalten area of Doka La, PTI reported today.
As per the report, the face-off has been going on in Doka La general area in Sikkim for the past ten days. The Indian troops had to struggle hard to stop the Chinese personnel from advancing further into Indian territory. They formed a human wall along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to stop the PLA personnel, some of whom also videographed and clicked pictures of the incident.
Meanwhile, a flag meeting was also held between senior army officers of both the sides on June 20, but the tension still persists. This is not the first time that such a transgression has happened at the Doka La, a place at the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction. The Chinese forces had in November 2008 destroyed some makeshift Indian army bunkers at the same place.
The development comes close on the heels of China refusing entry to Indian pilgrims who were scheduled to travel to Kailash Mansarovar through the Nathu La pass in Sikkim. A Chinese Foreign ministry spokesperson today said that both governments were in touch over the matter. It was reported that the Chinese had blocked the way stating apprehensions over the safety of pilgrims. However, there has been no official communication over the matter.
China’s provocation in the Sikkim sector also follows its recent blockade of India’s bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at its plenary meet in Bern.
Beijing is also closely monitoring PM Narendra Modi’s visit to US where he will meet President Donald Trump and discuss a range of issues including deepening military ties in the Asia-Pacific. China has warned both the nations against deepening their military ties in the region, asking ‘not to disturb peace in the South China Sea’.
Last week’s development of opening a direct commercial air route between India and Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan, has also left China fuming. The Global Times, in a commentary, advised India "to develop economic and trade relations" with China's "all-weather ally" Pakistan where Beijing is building a multi-billion-dollar worth economic corridor that passes between Islamabad and New Delhi. It also dubbed as ‘stubborn’ India’s move to open the air corridor with Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.
Meanwhile, amid growing differences between the two countries over a host of issues, PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jingping will be at the G20 Summit to be held in Germany next week. There is no scheduled meeting between the two leaders as of now.