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Home > India > News > Report

India downplays China's 'threat' in northern Sikkim

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | May 18, 2008 21:25 IST

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A official source in the Ministry of External Affairs on Sunday downplayed the controversy related to Chinese activities in the northern most part of Sikkim. Both sides are expected to meet formally to settle the new friction at the border.

According to reports, China tried to grab a small tract of land, also known as finger area, in northern Sikkim, which overlooks the Himlayan Valley Sora Funnel.

The government reminded China that the boundary with China at the Sikkim border has already been delineated many times since 1898. The Indo-China border demarcation was confirmed in the early part of the 20th century. Both sides are aware of their traditional areas.

A government source said that India and China would meet to discuss the issue formally, adding, "That is the right procedure."

"These problems will always happen. You have to talk it through. The world's largest boundary between two nations has largely been peaceful but unsettled," said a senior official.

China's 'threat' was countered by India by lodging a strong protest. The report claims that India has disallowed Chinese troops in the area. The area on the northern tip of Sikkim contains several stone cairns, which are essentially heaps of stones that can be used for shelter. 

The government acknowledged that at a lunch meeting in Beijing [Images], in the presence of India's ambassador Nirupama Rao, a senior Indian diplomat was told about the tension at the border in northern Sikkim by a Chinese official.

The stone cairns have been a bone of contention, as China has strongly objected to the stone structures built by the Indian side for protection. But India has evidence to show that these structures exist since many decades.

This year, many such frictions and transgressions by Chinese troops have been recorded at the Sino-Indian border.