China is hardening its stance with each passing day on Doklam border issue as the nation asked India to withdraw its troops equipment from what it called the “Chinese territory”.
China’s state-run daily Global Times said around fifty-three Indian soldiers and a bulldozer were present at the Doklam area.
On the other hand, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said the Indian armed forces are strong enough to meet any challenge to the country’s security as he underlined that lessons have been learnt from the 1962 war.
He said India had “learnt a lesson” from the 1962 war with China that “the armed forces will have be made fully capable on our own because even today the nation faces challenges from our neighbouring countries.”
A media report said that India’s Defence Ministry has sought “urgent” additional find of Rs 20,000 cr to step up its process to modernise armed forces and make it battle ready.
The Defence Ministry’s requirement came when the country is locked in a serious border conflict with rival neighbour China.
On Wednesday, the ministry, according to the Global Times, asked India to withdraw its troops and Citing the ministry, the daily said that 53 people and a bulldozer from the Indian side remain in “Chinese territory” as of Monday.
“India should withdraw its troops and equipment...They have gravely infringed on China’s sovereignty,” the ministry was quoted as having said by the daily.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang last week said that “there were 48 Indian soldiers and one bulldozer” in Doklam area as of August 2.
“In addition, there are still a large number of Indian armed forces congregating on the boundary and on the Indian side of the boundary,” Geng had said.
A 15-page fact sheet issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry had earlier said that there were over 40 Indian border troops and one bulldozer in the area by the July end.
Countering Chinese contention, sources in New Delhi last week maintained that around 350 Indian Army personnel have been in Doklam for last six weeks after China tried to build a road in the area, triggering the standoff.
India and China have been locked in a face-off in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector for over 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.
Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Doklam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.
The military standoff between China and India in the Doklam region has lasted for almost two months now, and there is still no end in sight, the Chinese daily added.
India’s position on the issue was made clear by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj recently, saying both sides should first pull back their troops for any talks to take place, favouring a peaceful resolution of the border standoff. (With PTI inputs)