China has justified the construction of a road in the Sikkim sector, claiming that the area is “undoubtedly” located on its side of the border as per the 1890 Sino-British Treaty, reported PTI on Wednesday. “According to the treaty, ‘zhe’ is the ancient name of Sikkim,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the Chinese Army had accused the Indian Army of stopping the construction of the road in what it claims to be China’s “sovereign territory” in Sikkim sector. Subsequently, the Chinese Foreign Ministry had lodged a diplomatic complaint with both New Delhi and Beijing. China had also used the “transgression” of the Indian forces into its claimed territory as a reason for suspending the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra on Monday.

Lu also claimed the Sikkim segment of the China-India border was recognised by both China and India. “The Indian side in the Sino-Indian boundary issue Special Representatives meeting confirmed that the two sides signed the treaty in 1890, the ‘Sino-British treaty’ and the China- India boundary of Sikkim to have the direction of a consensus.” He said that compliance with the treaties and documents relating to the issue is an international obligation for India.

Chinese state-run media takes an aggressive stand

Chinese publication, the state-run Global Times, took a more aggressive stand on the subject, calling on the Chinese government to “force the Indian troops to retreat to the Indian side by all means necessary”, and also doubted the motives of the Indian side. “It remains unclear whether this flare-up is the fault of low-level Indian troops or a tentative strategic move made by the Indian government,” it said.

The daily, while admitting that both Indian and Chinese armies intrude into each other’s territory from time to time due to the boundary dispute, added that reports of Chinese provocation are usually “fed” to the Indian media by the country’s army.

Warning India that it cannot afford a showdown with China on border issues, the Global Times said India lags far behind China in terms of military strength, and that the strategic support for it from the United States is “superficial”.