In an “off-the-record” meeting, a Chinese official laid claim to an area in Northern Sikkim and threatened that China would demolish some construction there. The news reached India through official circles and India threatened back.
Referred to as the “Finger Area” by Indian armed forces, this territory falls north of Gyangyong in Sikkim and overlooks a strategically important valley known as the Sora Funnel. It contains several stone cairns, which are essentially heaps of stones that can be used for shelter. The area is in the northernmost tip of Sikkim, north of a place called Gyangyong, and appears like a protruding finger on the map — hence the name Finger Area.
It seems there might be some re-enforcements but it shows very clearly what the Chinese designs are! This time they told us.. what if they just did that – a la-Kargil? And this was during a peace meeting with China! The history of peaceful dialog with China has such predictable results – of its ominous actions – that I find it nuts that we should even attempt to enter into one!!
Lets just face it – the Chinese have had this complex from centuries and was most clearly expressed by one of its Ambassadors:
India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.
~ Hu Shih
There is a reason why China has invested billions and risked a rebellion in its own backyard while arming Pakistan against India. I now feel Pakistan is less of a threat to India as it has its own mess to take care of. It is China which, I have strongly believed, is India’s major enemy.
Like most folks, I never laughed when George Fernandes suggested this. He was right then and will always will be. Btw, here is some history on this dispute:
Going back in history, Chinese troops used to cross the area during patrols but this was attributed to the general confusion that occurs during patrols along the Line of Actual Control. In many other areas, Indian troops, too, would cross Chinese territory for the same practical reasons like taking the shorter and negotiable route which may involve bit of transgression.
The row began to build up last year when Chinese troops started to frequent the area far too often — this year too about 50 Chinese transgressions have been reported in this area — and then started building a road towards the end of the year that crossed this tract of land.
When India objected to this at a local military commander level, China claimed that the area fell in its territory. A shocked Indian side then produced a 1924 map of the Survey of India where the stone cairns have been identified and shown as part of Indian territory. When China did not pay much attention to this, India even lodged a diplomatic protest in February with the Chinese government on this issue. This was after China had protested other troop deployments in Sikkim resulting from relocation of India troops from the western border. As a result of this diplomatic escalation, the road construction near the area came to a halt.
Realising that this could suddenly escalate into a major controversy, the Indian side started beefing up its positions and constructing pathways in the area. Sources said this further annoyed China, which re-emphasised its claim.
The bigger question that has emerged from this issue, China destroying a makeshift bunker at Doka La near the Sino-Sikkim-Bhutan trijunction and then the protest of India troop movements, sources said, is a Chinese effort to bring Sikkim back into the boundary controversy. Known as the Middle Sector of the LAC, the boundary along Sikkim was considered a less difficult issue compared to other sectors. In fact, this is the only sector where both sides have exchanged maps.