India surveys Sikkim border area after China lays claim

May 27th, 2008 - 8:12 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Seeking to reaffirm its position over a tract of border area in Sikkim, referred to as ‘Finger Area’ and on which China has laid claim, India Tuesday said it was conducting a survey in the region. Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor confirmed that the Indian Army, along with civil authorities, has undertaken a survey on its side in the region.

“We are carrying out such exercises in other places as well. But there is no problem between us and the other side,” Kapoor told reporters here, downplaying Chinese claims on the territory.

Referred to as the ‘Finger Area’ by the Indian armed forces, the 2.1 sq km territory falls in northern Sikkim and overlooks a strategically important valley known as the Sora Funnel. It contains several stone cairns, which are essentially heaps of stones that can be used for shelter.

The Indian stand assumes significance in the wake of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s three-day visit to China starting June 4.

“Within our territory we have been doing surveys and patrolling for long, and there is no room for doubt,” Kapoor added.

His comments come after reports that the government has asked the Survey of India to carry out a fresh survey of the northern plateau in Sikkim, using the latest methods to validate India’s position.

In its exchanges with Beijing, New Delhi has been relying on the 1924 Survey of India map of the area.

Minister of State for Defence M.M. Palam Raju said both India and China are responsible neighbours and would sort out matters, if any, bilaterally.

“China is a strong neighbour. We conduct bilateral negotiations on all issues. If there is any issue, we will sort out,” he said.

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