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6 Jul 2017

China’s state media warns India of ‘bullying’ Bhutan, says Beijing may support Sikkim’s independence

Sikkim, Bhutan, China, India, Sikkim standoff, India China border, India China relationsIE | New Delhi |   July 6, 2017: China’s state media on Thursday warned New Delhi to stop ‘bullying’ tiny Himalayan countries and that if it doesn’t, it may start supporting Sikkim’s ‘pro-independence appeals’. Global Times’ scathing editorial titled ‘China can rethink stance on Bhutan, Sikkim’, said, “Beijing should reconsider its stance over the Sikkim issue. As long as there are voices in Chinese society supporting Sikkim’s independence, the voices will spread and fuel pro-independence appeals in Sikkim.”
The editorial strongly reiterated that ‘New Delhi’s regional hegemony is swelling to a tipping point’ and that India ‘has to pay for its provocations’. It also mentioned how Sikkim is ‘sensitive’ to how the world views them. Citing history, the editorial also criticised India for imposing a coercive policy on Sikkim before. “The small neighbor’s revolts over sovereignty in the 1960s and 1970s were brutally cracked down on by the Indian military. New Delhi deposed the king of Sikkim in 1975 and manipulated the country’s parliament into a referendum to make Sikkim a state of India,” it said. Also Read: India trampling on Panchsheel pact, misleading public, says China.
Raking up the Dalai Lama issue, the editorial said ‘China was wary of India playing the Dalai Lama card, but this card is already overplayed and will exert no additional effect on the Tibet question.’ It also warned India that if ‘China adjusts its stance on India-sensitive issues, it could be a powerful card to deal with New Delhi.’
Meanwhile, the war of words over the standoff at Sikkim escalated in the past week when China asked India to learn from its historical lessons, alluding to the 1962 war, with Defence Minister Arun Jaitley retorting with ‘India of 2017 different from 1962′. China was quick to reply: “Just like India, China is also different from 1962’. Also Read: Sikkim impasse: What is the India-China-Bhutan border standoff?
China also accused India of “misleading the public” by saying that Chinese troops are building a road close to the Chicken’s Neck in the Sikkim sector which could endanger India’s access to the north-eastern states. In a statement to the media, China’s Foreign Minister spokesperson Gen Shuang said: “In disregard of the 1890 Sino-Britain convention, the Indian side said that Doklam is located within the tri-junction of the three countries, that is misleading the public.”
“The 1890 convention said that the Sikkim section of the boundary commences from East mountain and the incident (of road building) took place about 2,000 meters away from Mount Gipmochi,” Geng had asserted. Amid the border standoff between the two countries near Sikkim, China on Wednesday said it was considering options on issuing a travel alert for citizens visiting India, news agency PTI reported. Such a travel alert, China said, would depend on the security situation.
Shunag was quoted as saying by PTI: “The Chinese government attaches great importance to safety and lawful rights and interests of overseas Chinese citizens in accordance with the security condition of the relevant countries.”
The genesis of the skirmish between both the countries was China’s attempts to construct a road in the strategically key area of Donglong. However, the Indian Army had blocked construction of the road by China in the region, which is a disputed territory between China and Bhutan. Its link to the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction could give China a major military advantage over India.

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