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What if we enter Kalapani, Kashmir?: China to India

Wednesday, August 09, 2017
By Anil K Joseph and K J M Varma

Beijing: Rejecting India's suggestion for a simultaneous withdrawal of troops to end the standoff at Doklam, China today upped the ante, wondering what New Delhi would do if it "enters" Kalapani region in Uttarakhand or Kashmir.

India and China have been locked in a face-off in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector for 50 days after Indian troops stopped the Chinese Army from building a road in the area.

China claimed it was constructing the road within their territory and has been demanding immediate pull-out of the Indian troops from the disputed Doklam plateau. Bhutan says Doklam belongs to it but China claims the area belongs to it and says Thimphu has no dispute with Beijing over it.

"Even if there is only one Indian soldier, even for a day it is still a violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity," Wang Wenli, Deputy Director General of the Boundary and Ocean Affairs of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.

Wang was briefing an Indian media delegation, whose visit was sponsored by the state-run All China Journalists Association (ACJA), on China's stand on the Doklam standoff.

"It is impossible to have a dialogue with India at this time. Our people will think our government is incompetent."

"Until the Indian side withdraws from the Chinese territory, there will be no substantive talks between us," she said, while reiterating Beijing's stand that the only way to end the present crisis on the border was the withdrawal of Indian troops from Doklam.

Needling India, she raised the Kashmir issue and also referred to the Kalapani dispute between India and Nepal.

"We think it is not doable for the Indian side to use tri-junction as an excuse," she said, referring to Indian External Affairs Ministry's assertion that the road building at the China, India and Bhutan tri-junction in the strategic narrow Chicken's Neck area changes the status quo.

"The Indian side has also many tri-junctions. What if we use the same excuse and enter the Kalapani region between China, India and Nepal or even into the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan," she said. "Therefore, using the tri-junction as an excuse does not hold water at all. It will only cause more trouble," Wang said.

This is the first time that a Chinese official sought to bring in the Kashmir issue even though such a remark has been made earlier by a scholar in the state-run Global Times.

Asked whether China was getting ready for a war with India, Wang said, "I can only say that for the PLA (People's Liberation Army) and for the Chinese government, we have the determination.”

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