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Sikkim standoff: Mulayam warns govt against joint attack from Pak, China

Govt sources reject reports of Chinese troop buildup in Tibet

Archis Mohan  |  New Delhi 

Samajwadi Party leader and former Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday said China, in collaboration with Pakistan, was readying to attack India. He asked the Centre to reverse its stand on recognising Tibet as an autonomous region of China, and support the region's independence. Yadav, and socialists of his ilk, including former Defence Minister George Fernandes, have maintained that China is India's "enemy number one", and it isn't new for the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister to caution about Beijing. Yadav's comments come in the wake of the ongoing military stand-off between India and China on the Dokalam area. The Press Trust of India (PTI) on Wednesday reported from Beijing, quoting from a mouthpiece of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), that the PLA has moved tens of thousands of tonnes of military vehicles and hardware into the remote mountainous Tibet region after the standoff with Indian troops in the Dokalam area in the Sikkim sector. The vast haul was transported to a region south of the Kunlun Mountains in northern Tibet by the Western Theatre Command - which oversees the restive regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, and handles border issues with India, reported the PLA Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese military. The move took place late last month and involved hardware being moved simultaneously by road and rail from across the entire region, the report said. Top government sources in New Delhi, however, said there was no significant increase in deployment of troops by China along the Sino-India border.

They said China's recent military exercise in the Tibet region should not be linked to the current standoff between the armies of the two countries in Dokalam. The sources said the exercise was a routine military drill by China and that its western theatre command has not made any major enhancement in its military might in the wake of the face-off that should trigger alarm bells in India. The command looks after the 3,488-km-long border with India. In Lok Sabha, Yadav said claimed China had buried nuclear weapons in Pakistan to target India, adding that Indian intelligence agencies "would know better". Without naming then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, he said the Congress stalwart made a "big mistake" on the Tibet issue and added that he had even then spoken against it. "China is our enemy, not Pakistan. Pakistan can do us no damage," he said. It was India's responsibility to protect Bhutan and China was eyeing Nepal, he said. He also spoke against massive amounts of Chinese goods finding a market in India. US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in Washington India and China should work together to come up with "some better sort of arrangement" for peace and expressed concern over the standoff between their troops in the Sikkim sector. "I know that the US is concerned about the ongoing situation there," the State Department Spokesperson told reporters at her daily news conference.

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First Published: Wed, July 19 2017. 23:12 IST
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