Briefing on the Latest Development in Doklam Area by Political Counselor of Chinese Embassy in India

Some Indian friends are deeply worried about the face-off between the Chinese and Indian border troops in Doklam. I have been to the China-India and China-Bhutan border areas many times, and have first-hand knowledge about Doklam. In this sense, I am happy to share my perception on the current situation in Doklam.

On June 18, Indian border troops crossed the Sikkim Section of the China-India Boundary, triggering a close range face-off. Actually, this section is delimited by The Convention between China and Great Britain Relating to Tibet and Sikkim in 1890. In essence, China’s territorial sovereignty has been undermined by the Indian border troops.

After the incident, the Indian side claims that Doklam belongs to Bhutan, Chinese side changed the status quo and India has security concern. These are India’s three major arguments to justify its trespassing into the Chinese territory.

Based on my work and knowledge on the China-India and China-Bhutan boundary talks in the past decade, I must say India’s arguments are groundless.

As to ‘Doklam belongs to Bhutan’, we have strong evidence to prove that Doklam belongs to China. Doklam has always been the traditional pasture for Chinese border inhabitants. Archives of Xi Zang Autonomous Region still retain some receipts of the grass tax paid by Bhutanese herdsmen. Today the Chinese border troops patrol there and the herdsmen graze their livestock there every year, and production and living facilities have been built there.

As to changing status quo, since Doklam is a part of Chinese territory, activities conducted by China in Doklam are within China’s sovereignty. It is the Indian side that trespassed into Chinese territory and changed the status quo.

As to Indian ‘security concerns’, India has crossed a delimited boundary into other country’s territory in the name of security concerns, no matter what kinds of activities it conducts there, which will not be acceptable to any sovereign state.

As far as the solution is concerned, the Indian troops must pull back to the Indian side of the boundary unconditionally and immediately. That is the precondition for any meaningful dialogue between China and India.

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