Chinese incursions because India fails to assert: Minister

June 19th, 2008 - 3:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) China is making repeated incursions along the border with India because New Delhi is “failing to assert” itself on its territorial claims, says Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju. “All this is happening because we are failing to assert ourselves as a nation on our stand on what we believe is ours,” Raju told IANS in an interaction.

His remarks, which he said was being made in a personal capacity, assume significance in the light of a reported incursion by Chinese troops Monday in the sensitive Finger Area of north Sikkim.

The vehicle-mounted Chinese patrol came one kilometre into Indian territory at a point named Cairn 5 and stayed for a few minutes before leaving, the defence ministry confirmed.

This was the 69th incursion by Chinese troops into the area and comes even as Beijing has recognised that Sikkim is an integral part of India.

According to Raju, the incursions signalled China’s “bargaining intent” on settling the festering border dispute with India that had seen the two countries going to war in 1962.

“The Chinese are deft bargainers. The incursions in the Finger Area are an indication of their bargaining intent,” he maintained.

China has often laid claim to Tawang town in Arunachal Pradesh and to large tracts in the state, saying the McMohan Line defining their frontier is flawed. New Delhi asserts that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India.

India and China had last October announced the formation of a working group to lay down the roadmap for settling their boundary dispute.

This followed the 11th round of talks between their special representatives - India’s National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo.

The boundary dispute apart, India and China have made considerable progress in the last 20 years in ramping their political, economic, cultural and military ties.

The first India-China war game was held in China last December and another is to be held in India later this year.

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