NEW DELHI: After days of war mongering and ratcheting up rhetoric following the stand-off along the Sikkim borderChina on Wednesday made attempts to deescalate by offering to open an alternate route to Nathula Pass for Kailash Mansarover Yatris.
With India showing no signs on blinking amid Chinese aggression Beijing in a late Wednesday night statement attempted de-escalation ahead of BRICS leaders meeting in Hamburg on the side lines of G-20 Summit this Friday.
China consistently respects the Indian people’s religious sentiments and attaches importance to Indian Yatra to Kailash and Manasrovar in Xizang. Up to now, the official yatra through Lipuleku Pass and non-official yatra through Lhasa and Purang are still on the rails. We are willing to discuss the possibility of alternative arrangements through other routes for Indian official yatris who had planned to visit Kailash and Manasrovar via Nathula Pass,” Chinese Embassy spokesperson Xie Liyan said in a statement.
However, it is not clear which are the alternate routes to Nathula for KMY. It is also not known if Russian President Vladimir Putin had a piece of advice for visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xi is currently in Moscow and Beijing’s announcement comes after Putin-Xi meeting on Tuesday.
The Yatra was suspended by China following the stand-off. The Chinese statement, however, does not indicate that the stand-off in Nathula has ended from the PLA side as earlier in the day Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang sharpened the rhetoric.
Geng Shuang told media persons in Beijing, “In disregard of the 1890 Sino-Britain convention, the Indian side said that Doklam is located within the tri-junction of the three countries; that is misleading the public. The 1890 convention said that the Sikkim section of the boundary commences from East Mountain and the incident (of road building) took place about 2,000 metres away from Mount Gipmochi.”
Geng claimed that the incident had nothing to do with the tri-junction between China, India and Bhutan. “The Indian side is actually misleading the public by saying that the incident took place at the tri-junction point,” he said, defending China’s road building which India and Bhutan have objected to.
While officials here indicated that Wednesday night’s move may be a part of de-escalate, they remained circumspect of Chinese design. “China may have overplayed KMY issue. The BJP government did not come under pressure from China on suspension of Yatra. It might also be a plan to earn goodwill with the public. Another tactic could be to attempt a rupture between the public and the government. This in the background of the falsehood which the Chinese media is propagating that our Government is misleading the public,” an official here claimed.