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Sikkim standoff escalates: China threatens to enter into Kashmir or Kalapani in Uttarakhand

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A day after editor of leading Chinese newspaper Global Times said military action was inevitable if Indian troops did not withdraw from China's soil in Doklam, Beijing has issued another threat asking what would India do if China enters Kashmir or the Kalapani region in Uttarakhand.

Wang Wenli, Deputy Director General of the Boundary and Ocean Affairs of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the visiting Indian journalists, "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 the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan.

Indian journalists were visiting China at the invitation of All China Journalists Association (ACJA).

India and China have been locked in a face-off in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector since June 16 after Indian troops stopped the Chinese Army from building a road in the area. China said it was constructing the road within their territory and has been demanding immediate pull-out of the Indian troops from the disputed Doklam plateau.

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

Wang Wenli 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.

According to the Indian Express, 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 Global Times.

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Chinese threat should not be taken lightly

Indian experts said on Wednesday that India should take the Chinese threat of entering Kalapani in Uttarakhand seriously to keep an eye on "activities across the border".

Kalapani is a region close to Nepal and the Himalayan country has been staking claim over the disputed territory for years now. Kalapani is a 35-square-kilometre area in the hill state's Pithoragarh district under control of Indo Tibetan border police. Uttarakhand shares an 80.5-km-long porous border with Nepal and a 344-km border with China, the Hindustan Times said.

SS Pangti, an expert on India-Nepal border affairs, was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying that the 1816 Segauli treaty signed between the British and Nepal locates the Kali River as the western border between the nations.

Kalapani is considered as the origin of Kali River that flows from Nepal and enters Uttarakhand. In fact, both the nations are also working on a joint hydropower project Pancheshwar on the river on the Indian side.

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"Above Kalapani there is no demarcation (of the boundary) between Indo-Nepal till China border. This could lead to problems in the coming time. The dragon's threat should not be taken lightly," Pangti told the Hindustan Times.

"It is crucial for India to maintain control at Kalapani in a bid to keep an eye on the activities across the border," he added.

China Daily warns: Countdown to clash between Chinese and Indian forces has begun

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 

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