Beijing: China today accused Indian troops of "crossing the boundary" in the Sikkim region and demanded their immediate withdrawal, while asserting that it stopped the Indian pilgrims who enter Tibet via the Himalayan pass of Nathu La "for safety reasons" in view of the border issue.
China on Monday refused to let Indian pilgrims undertaking the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra from crossing the Sikkim border to visit Mount Kailash in Tibet. The pilgrims were kept waiting for nearly a week at the border after which they returned to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.
China also said that it has lodged diplomatic protests with India, both in New Delhi and Beijing, alleging that the Indian troops trespassed into Chinese territory in the Sikkim sector. "We have lodged solemn representations in Beijing and New Delhi to elaborate on our solemn position," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang told a media on Tuesday.
"Our position to uphold our territorial sovereignty is unwavering. We hope the Indian side can work with China in the same direction and immediately withdraw the personnel who have overstepped and trespassed into Chinese border," he said.
"The Indian border guards crossed the boundary in the Sikkim section of the China-India border and entered the territory of China, and obstructed normal activities of Chinese frontier forces in the Donglang area recently, and the Chinese side has taken counter-measures," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a statement on Monday.
His statement came after the Chinese Defence Ministry accused the Indian military of stopping the construction of a road in what it claims to be China's "sovereign territory" in the Sikkim sector of the India-China border and said the move has "seriously damaged" border peace and tranquility.
China urges India to respect boundary treaties and China's territorial sovereignty to maintain peace and stability at the China-India boundary, Mr Geng said.
In 2015, China agreed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's request to let Indians access Mount Kailash in Tibet, considered the abode of Lord Shiva, through Sikkim, which is a relatively easier route than through a pass in Uttarakhand.