Sushma Swaraj 'lied' in Parliament on border standoff, says China's Global Times

Sikkim standoff: Pak game plan in focus as envoy meets Chinese ambassador to India

If the status quo is disturbed, as the Chinese sought to do and in the process ran up against the Indian forces, the Chinese Army can train long-range guns on the Siliguri Corridor and physically cut off the Northeast from the rest of India.

"If China unilaterally changes the status quo of the tri-junction, it becomes a matter of security concern for India", she said, referring to the area where the three countries meet. "The withdrawal of Indian troops must be a precondition for talks and China will not compromise on this stance", it said. The report said a key element of the exercise was to test and enhance rapid troop deployments and noted the PLA brigade that conducted it has previously mounted "frontline combat missions".

However, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Thursday that it was only "fair" that both India and China withdraw troops for talks to take place. He is expected to open up the diplomatic channels to find a solution to the five week old standoff at Doklam.

Unlike in the past, China reacted vituperatively with its state-controlled media repeatedly issuing dire warnings of repeating its 1962 invasion.

It is always hard to second guess a large, and reputedly inscrutable, country like China, especially at a time of crisis. "It reflects that New Delhi has begun to be diffident". Similarly, when the Chinese intruded the Sumdorong Chu area in Arunachal Pradesh in 1986, they faced a measured, but strong Indian reaction. Apart from its treaty commitment to protect Bhutan, India is seriously concerned about any Chinese move into the area, as it would pose a serious security threat to its vital lines of communication across its eastern and northeastern borders. Defence Department spokesperson Gary Ross said in a statement to the media: "We encourage India and China to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions and free of any coercive aspects". "They understand that the stand taken by India on the issue is not wrong", PTI quoted her as saying. That the focus of the meetings was the current border stand-off at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction in Doklam speaks for itself.

China says that on June 16, Indian troops crossed the border at Sikkim to stop the construction of a road that it is entitled to build on its own turf on a plateau it calls Donglang. Indian government sources claimed this was the first time India's government had discussed the border dispute with a foreign leader.

Stating that Indian military strength is "far behind" China, Global Times asserted that that if the stand-off was escalated to a military conflict, "India will surely lose". The editorial asked India to "abandon the long-term fantasy" of the Doklam area.

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