Doklam Standoff Was China’s Plan to ‘Split’ India From Bhutan: Former NSA Shivshankar Menon
New Delhi, Jan 20: Justifying its massive construction activities in the Doklam area, China asked India not to comment on its ‘legitimate’ infrastructure as it aimed at improving the lives of its troops and the people living on its own territory. Beijing’s strong reaction came amid reports that it was building a huge military complex close to the the disputed region.
Asked about reports citing satellite imagery of a Chinese military complex in the area, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said,”I have also noted the relevant report. I don’t know who offered such kind of photos. I do not have detailed information on it.”
The reports had raised concerns that the China may be preparing for another standoff with India. Lu, however, said, “China’s position on the Donglong (Doklam) area is quite clear. Donglong always belonged to China and always under China’s effective jurisdiction. There is no dispute in this regard,” he said asserting Chinese sovereignty over the area which is also claimed by Bhutan.
He said China is building infrastructure for its troops and the people living in the area. “In order to patrol the border and improve the production and lives of border troops and residents, China has constructed infrastructure including roads in the Donglong (Doklam) area,” Lu asserted and claimed China was exercising sovereignty in its own territory.
Advising India to not comment on China’s construction activities, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said,”It is legitimate and justified. Just as China will not make comments on India’s construction infrastructure in its own territory, we hope other countries will not make comments on China’s construction of infrastructure in its own territory.”
Asked about concerns that China is preparing for a second standoff at Doklam area, he said Indian troops’ intervention to stop building a key road close the Chicken Neck Corridor of India, has put the bilateral ties to severe test.
Referring to Amy Chief General Bipin Rawat’s recent remarks that Doklam is a disputed territory between China and Bhutan, Lu said, “The Indian senior military officer has recognised that it was the Indian border troops who crossed the border”.
“This incident has put bilateral relations to undergo a severe test. We hope the Indian side can learn lessons from this and avoid the incident to happen again,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)