India - China war of words intensifies

India - China war of words intensifies

NEW DELHI - India is ready to take on any unforeseen situation in Doklam said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday. The statement comes days after Chinese President Xi Jinping said they are prepared to fight a bloody battle against its enemies.

On Saturday Indian envoy Gautam Bambawale claimed that any attempt by China to change the status quo along the Indian border may lead to another Doklam-like stand-off between the two nations.

“We are alert and ready for any unforeseen situation in Doklam. We are constantly working on the modernisation of our forces. We will maintain our territorial integrity,” Sitharaman.

Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam from June 16 last year after India stopped the building of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. The face-off ended on August 28, 2017.

"In order to maintain the peace and tranquillity (along India-China border), there are certain areas, certain sectors which are very sensitive, where we must not change the status quo. If anyone changes the status quo, it will lead to a situation like what happened in Doklam," Bambawale said.

Earlier this month, the Defence Minister told Parliament said China has undertaken construction of helipads, sentry posts and trenches for its army personnel there.

Sources said China has been keeping its troops in north Doklam and significantly ramping up its infrastructure in the disputed area.

In January, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said the time had come for India to shift its focus from borders with Pakistan to the frontier with China, indicating the seriousness of the situation.

Meanwhile, both India and China have been rapidly modernising their military with a focus on advanced hardware.

While India has inked deals with numerous countries like France, Russia, Israel and the United States for military hardware, China is focusing on exponentially increasing its expeditionary capabilities.

On Tuesday, President Xi Jinping said, "Not a single inch of our land will be or can be ceded from China."

"We are resolved to fight the bloody battle against our enemies," Xi added