THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 4 AUGUST, 2017
THE CITIZEN BUREAU
NEW DELHI: China has stepped up the rhetoric again, after a brief lull, with its Defence Ministry maintaining that there was a ‘bottom line’ to it’s ‘utmost goodwill’ and ‘restraint’ on the Doklam military stand off.
This statement comes just after China has again extended the technical hold on the US move in the United Nations to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar a terrorist. China had intervened in March 2016 to put a hold on India’s application with the other 14 members of the UN Security Council to put a ban on Azar under the AlQaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council. The Jaish has already been included in the list of banned terror organisations.
The validity of China’s technical hold, extended already, expired on August 2. China met the deadline with another extension that takes it to November 2 now.
Meanwhile Xinhua, China’s official news agency has carried a commentary by You Dongxiao, an associate professor with the International College of Defense at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Armyou Dongxiao to say that for China there is no other solution other than the “unconditional and immediate withdrawal of Indian troops from the region”.
He went on to write in what is the stated Chinese position that there are three reasons why China, will not and cannot back down.
“Firstly, Doklam is Chinese territory and there is no doubt or dispute about it. The Doklam standoff differs from previous military confrontations along the China-India boundary in that it is the first intrusion into the Chinese side of the mutually recognized boundary.
The Doklam region belongs to China and has under Chinese rule for a very long time. This part of the boundary between Tibet Autonomous Region and India's Sikkim State is clearly delineated in the 1890 Convention between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet.
Every Indian government since independence has confirmed the boundary as it stands. It is hard to understand why India has decided to abandon its previous position and challenge the Convention at this time.
If China backs down now, India may be emboldened to make more trouble in the future. Beijing and New Delhi still have a number of differences over undefined sections of frontier, but Doklam is not one of them.
Secondly, it is simply illegal for India to send military personnel into Chinese territory, even under the pretext of "security concerns" or "protection" of Bhutan. This is not a grey area. India has not provided any legal basis at all for its action.
India contends that the building of some roads represents a significant change of the status quo with serious security implications and, in coordination with Bhutan, the Indian military attempted to stop the work in progress.
India attempts to justify its action in the name of protecting Bhutan, arguing that Doklam is Bhutanese territory, but even if that were the case, how does that entitle India to send troops there?
Although India and Bhutan have traditionally close relations, India recognizes Bhutan as an independent sovereign state. This raises the questions of when and why Thimphu invited India to protect its interests there. So far, there is no evidence that any such invitation was ever made.
Doklam is of huge strategic significance to India, due to its proximity to the Siliguri Corridor -- India's sensitive "chicken's neck" -- connecting seven northeastern states with the rest of the country.
India's own security concerns cannot possibly warrant a military occupation of a neighboring country. If they did, then any country could send its military forces unbidden into any neighboring country over purely internal security concerns.
Finally, the border line is the bottom line. China has relentlessly stated that it will never allow any people, organization or political party to split any part of Chinese territory away from the country at any time, in any form. China's position on such matters is crystal clear and unwavering.”
Referring to sources based reports in the Indian media suggesting that this was all Chinese posturing, and that Beijing did not want to escalate the conflct, the professor again reiterates, with some vehemence, that while it is true that China does not want a war, it will never “back down in the face of forreign military pressure.”