Withdrawal of its troops is India's best recourse

China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-24 07:36

Withdrawal of its troops is India's best recourse

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the nation from the historic Red Fort during Independence Day celebrations in Delhi, India, August 15, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

The trespassing in Chinese territory by Indian troops has now dragged into a second month. The longer they remain on the Chinese side of the long-demarcated and mutually recognized Sikkim section of the border, the less room there will be for peacefully ending the crisis.

Considering that both sides have reportedly sent more troops into the Donglang area, the face-off between Indian and Chinese troops, if not properly handled, could easily be the fuse that ignites a military clash between the two countries.

Especially as some Indian officials and media are bellicosely proclaiming that India today is different from the India of 1962, implying the country's military muscles have grown since then.

They should be aware that the same applies to China, if not more so.

China has so far exercised the utmost restraint and is still trying to defuse the situation in a peaceful manner. However, this should not be misinterpreted by India as a sign of weakness, as that would likely lead to it making a dangerous miscalculation. It should be aware that China has both the necessary means and the will to safeguard its territorial integrity.

Since the Indian troops have not been withdrawn from the Chinese territory, despite China's repeated urgings, their trespassing bears every emblem of being an incursion. If China's appeals for India to see sense and respect the demarcated border continue to fall on deaf ears then a military response may become inevitable.

This would not only disrupt the good momentum in ties that had seemed to be on the cards after recent bilateral high-level meetings, but also the peaceful environment the two economies need for their development.

Despite their disputes over other parts of the border, the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary has been delimited by treaty, and the Indian government has repeatedly confirmed in writing that it recognizes this part of the boundary. Yet Indian troops entered Chinese territory to obstruct the construction of a road.

Indian claims that the area where China is constructing the road is disputed by Bhutan and it is helping it as obligated by their friendship treaty. However, this is dissembling its real reasons, which stem from its own unfounded sense of insecurity and fear that it is losing out to China in regional influence.

Reports from India, suggest its troops in the Donglang are preparing to stay for the long haul. However, that will not be allowed. It is high time India corrected its wrongdoing and respected the demarcated boundary by withdrawing its troops from Chinese territory.

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