Sikkim residents vent ire over China's claim

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Gangtok, May 20: Residents of Sikkim have reacted strongly to reports about China's claim to a small tract of land in northern Sikkim.

"On the one hand, China is trying to tell the international community that it has stepped back from laying claims on portions of Sikkim close to its borders, on the other hand, we keep hearing about military activities on Sikkim's border with China," said Ratan Gurung, a resident. "China is retracting on its commitment. It's wrong on its part to lay claim on the area," added Bhupal Basnett, another resident.

China has made fresh claims with troops making an entry into the "finger area" which is the northernmost tip of Sikkim. The boundary area is demarcated by mounds of stones, which China has objected to.

India though has told China it will not allow Chinese troops in the area, as it would mean a breach of treaty between the neighbours.

The row has occurred even as the two Asian giants reopened trade across the 15,000-ft Nathu La Pass, 52 km east of Sikkim's capital Gangtok, as part of a broader rapprochement.

The move marked the first direct trade link between the two countries since a bitter border war in 1962.

The Sikkim boundary was demarcated and recognised by the two countries as far back as 1959.

The current claim by the Chinese is the latest among several irritants in Sino-India ties. China has continued to stake claim over large parts of Arunachal Pradesh, particularly Tawang.

Even as discussions continue over the matter, China and India have exchanged words over Arunachal. The Indian Government has on many occasions asserted and conveyed to the Chinese that Arunachal is an integral part of India.


ANI

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