China lodges protest with India, demands troops withdrawal
China on Tuesday said it has complained to India about Indian troops "trespassing" the Chinese boundary, hinting that pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar won't resume until the soldiers were withdrawn.
Indian and Chinese troops reportedly faced off along the border in Sikkim, the reason Beijing has attributed to stopping 47 Indian pilgrims from travelling to the sacred place in Tibet.
"We have lodged solemn representation in Beijing and New Delhi to elaborate our solemn position," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.
"Our position to uphold our territorial sovereignty is unwavering and we hope that the Indian side can work with China in the same direction and take immediate actions to withdraw the personnel who have overstepped and trespassed into Chinese border," Lu said.
According to Indian media reports, Chinese troops crossed into Indian boundary and destroyed two army bunkers -- a charge denied by Beijing.
In a previous statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: "The Sino-Indian border of Sikkim has been delineated by the 1890 Sino-British Treaty on Tibetan Customs. After the independence of India, the Indian government has confirmed this in writing several times, acknowledging that there is no objection to the border between the two sides." "The Chinese side asked the Indian side to respect the border treaty, respect the territorial sovereignty of China, (asked for) the immediate withdrawal of border officials and (to) thoroughly investigate the matter, to maintain the Sino-Indian border Sikkim section of peace and tranquility."
The development will add to the existing tensions between two neighbours who have a festering border dispute. The two fought a brief but bloody war in 1962.
The latest incident reportedly took place at Lalten in the Doka La region at the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction. It is the Nathu La pass that links India's Sikkim state with Tibet in China.
In 1967, India gave a dressing down to China when the People's Liberation Army (PLA) attacked an Indian Army post in Nathu La.
Asked about the remaining Indian pilgrims who want to travel to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, Lu said it depends on how India handled the situation.
"I think this Indian side is clear about this as for a long time the Chinese government has taken enormous efforts to provide the necessary convenience for those Indian pilgrims.
"But recently Indian border personnel trespassed the Chinese border to obstruct our construction, so we have taken necessary actions out of security consideration.
"We have to put off the pilgrimage by the Indian pilgrims through the Chinese pass, so the upcoming actions, we have to depend on what the Indian side will do, we have to take actions to improve the security situation."
The Nathu La route was opened to Indian pilgrims in 2015 for undertaking the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra to reach sacred the Mount Kailash in Tibet. Earlier, Indian pilgrims would take a longer route via the Lipulekh Pass route in Uttarakhand.