According to the Indian media, on January 12, Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat said at a press conference that China is a powerful country, but India is not a weak nation, and that India should shift its military focus to the northern border. He added that the Dong Lang area doesn’t belong to India and that Indian soldiers did cross into foreign territory during the standoff. What is your comment on those remarks?
A: We have taken note of relevant reports. The past one year witnessed some twists and turns in China-India relations. On the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Xiamen last September, the two leaders reached important consensus on properly handling differences and bringing China-India relations back to the track of sound and steady development. Recently, the two sides have enhanced dialogue and consultation and bilateral relations in general have shown a positive sign of improvement and growth.
Against such backdrop, all the unconstructive words about shifting military focus to the northern border by this Indian senior military officer as you mentioned, which ran against the important consensus reached by the two leaders and the bilateral efforts to improve ties, work against jointly upholding peace and tranquility in the border areas.
China and India are each other’s important neighbors. Both of us are at the critical stage of national development and rejuvenation. The two countries should step up strategic communication, disperse strategic misgivings and conduct strategic cooperation. We urge the Indian side to observe the important consensus reached by the two leaders, contribute to peace and stability in the border areas, and refrain from doing anything that may complicate the situation. Relevant affairs between the two countries shall be handled in a constructive manner so as to promote the sound and steady development of bilateral relations. That, we believe, serves the common interests of the region and the interests of the Indian side as well.
One thing I would like to point out is that the remarks of this officer once again proved the irrefutable fact and clear-cut nature of that illegal border-crossing incident by the Indian troops last year. The Dong Lang area belongs to China. The Sikkim Sector of the China-India boundary has been delimited by historical conventions. The Dong Lang area is China’s territory. China will continue exercising its sovereignty over the Dong Lang area in accordance with the stipulations of historical conventions and steadfastly uphold its territorial sovereignty. We ask the Indian military to learn its lessons from that incident, abide by historical conventions and earnestly uphold peace and stability of the border areas, thus creating favorable atmosphere for the positive development of bilateral relations.