India forges ahead with 'Act East' policy amid territorial dispute with China

India forges ahead with 'Act East' policy amid territorial dispute with China

China has this week issued a series of warnings to India - some through state-run newspapers - about the urgent need for New Delhi to withdraw its troops from an area that Beijing claims as its own near Sikkim.

Raking up the Dalai Lama issue, the editorial said 'China was wary of India playing the Dalai Lama card, but this card is already overplayed and will exert no additional effect on the Tibet question'.

Previously, the official spokesperson of China made a baffling statement saying "If India doesn't step back, we might have to take extreme measures in order to conquer our land".

The border tensions escalated after the Indian Army personnel prevented the road construction party of the PLA to build road in the Dokalam region, lying at the tri-juncture of India, Bhutan and China.

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In its sharpest comment since the Indian and Chinese troops scuffled in Doklam, the Global Times said on Wednesday that China must teach India "a bitter lesson". And if India doesn't withdraw its troops from the border, Beijing may decide to support "pro-independence appeals in Sikkim".

The genesis of the ensuing feud lies in Doklam at the tri-junction of India, Bhutan and China.

It's only fair to share. Since that war, India has not lost another, albeit that it was fought to a standstill in 1965, whereas Chinese forces were given a bloody nose by Vietnamese forces in 1979.

"We firmly believe that the face-off in the Donglang area will end up with the Indian troops in retreat". New Delhi also accused China of bulldozing unused bunkers in the Sikkim sector. The standoff started after Indian soldiers intervened at the request of Bhutan army when the latter failed to stop the Chinese from constructing the road.

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Talking about how Sikkim became a part of India, the editorial said: "New Delhi deposed the king of Sikkim in 1975 and manipulated the country's parliament into a referendum to make Sikkim a state of India". There have been several recent instances in which the views of the two countries have diverged, including India's application for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the blacklisting of the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief, the South China Sea, etc., but their commercial engagements have seen a continued relationship.

While Modi and the Chinese president will hold bilateral meetings with other leaders at the summit, they will not face each other directly. Meanwhile, the Chinese media rhetoric has gone shriller - talk of war being an option and reminders of India's humiliating defeat in the 1962 war.

Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has also hit back at China saying Delhi in 2017 is not what it was in 1962.

China also appeared frustrated that India has refused to join its continent-wide "One Belt, One Road" infrastructure initiative, which includes a key component in Pakistan — India's archrival but one of China's staunchest allies.

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