India-China standoff: Kailash yatra via Nathu La cancelled

RSTV Bureau

India China flagsThe standoff between India and China over border troops in Sikkim has escalated to the point that the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Nathu La pass in Sikkim has been cancelled.

China has called for a ‘meaningful dialogue’ with India over troops in Sikkim. China has also asked India to withdraw its troops from Doklam, insisting that Beijing has “indisputable sovereignty” over the area.

“Diplomatic channels are unimpeded between India and China for talks on the standoff in Sikkim,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Friday.

“The pressing issue is to have a meaningful dialogue for  the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Doklam area in Sikkimsector,” Lu insisted.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs also responded by saying, “Conveyed to China that road construction would represent significant change of status quo with security implications
for India.”

India also said that it was important that consensus on the border issue between India and China through Special Representatives process is scrupulously respected.

Trouble began when the Indian Army blocked construction of a road by China in Doklam, a disputed territory between China and Bhutan. Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, about 220-km section falls in Sikkim.

China accused Indian troops of crossing the border and entering Chinese territory. The Chinese government also refuted Bhutan’s allegation that China violated agreements by constructing a road inside its territory.

In a strongly worded statement, Bhutan had also asked China to stop constructing the motorable road from Dokola in the Doklam area towards the Bhutan Army camp at Zompelri which it says affects the process of demarcating the boundary between the two countries.

But Lu insisted China had “indisputable sovereignty over the Donklam area.”

(With inputs from PTI)