New Delhi: Chinese hopes of an “early harvest” in signing a “new boundary convention with India” to finalise the Sino-Indian border in the Sikkim sector have received a severe setback in the wake of the Doklam stand-off.
It’s no secret that New Delhi suspects that the proposed road that China wants to build through Doklam in Bhutanese territory will bring Chinese troops closer to India’s Chicken’s Neck that connects the heartland with India’s north-eastern states. China regards Doklam as its territory and calls it Dong Lang.
“The Chinese and Indian sides have been in discussion on making the boundary in the Sikkim sector an ‘early harvest’ in the settlement of the entire boundary question during the meetings between the Special Representatives on the China-India boundary question,” the Chinese foreign ministry had recently stated in a 15-page fact-sheet on the Doklam stand-off that was released from Beijing.
New Delhi’s position is that while the status of Sikkim as a part of India has been decided and recognised by China, the exact border in the Sikkim sector is yet to be mutually agreed on by both sides.
But the Chinese action in Doklam — which both India and Bhutan regard as Bhutanese territory — have put New Delhi on alert. Consequently, China’s hope of an early settlement on the border in the Sikkim sector is expected to be dashed, given the tension generated by Beijing’s belligerence in the six week-long Sino-Indian military stand-off in the Doklam area.
Move to agree on Sikkim border in 2006
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had recently said that, “During the Eighth Special Representatives meeting in June 2006, the Chinese side had in fact handed over a non-paper for separate agreement on the boundary in Sikkim sector. The non-paper had proposed that ‘Both sides may, based on the above mentioned historical treaty i.e. 1890 Convention verify and determine the specific alignment of the Sikkim sector and produce a common record’.”
The minister had added, “On this basis as the initial result of the boundary settlement both sides may negotiate a final agreement on the boundary alignment in the Sikkim sector to replace the historical treaty."...