Letters | Sep 06, 1999
  • Matter of Degree
    Sep 06, 1999

    In The Red Dragon Comes Calling (August 23), Lachen is mentioned as being 3-4 km inside Indian territory whereas it’s actually 40 km. No foot patrol is capable of traversing this distance along hostile terrain and returning without being intercepted. It is also categorically stated that no such armed intrusion has occurred.

    The border between Tibet and Sikkim was finalised in a treaty between Britain and China in 1896 and fully demarcated in 1903 and 1904. The Chinese therefore are well aware of the alignment of the border in Sikkim and respect it accordingly. This attempt by the author to prove otherwise is false, fictitious and grossly misleading.

    Col Shruti Kant, PRO (Army)

    Our correspondent replies: Col Shruti Kant’s point about Lachen town being 40 km inside the boundary is well taken but a careful perusal of the write-up will reveal that I have not mentioned that the Chinese came up to Lachen town. Since Lachen happens to be the only identifiable town in northern Sikkim close to the Chinese border, its name was used to give an idea about the general area in which the intrusion took place.The army will obviously not like to admit that an armed intrusion took place, but villagers in the area are categorical about the occurrence. And they have no reason to hide the fact.

    That the border between Tibet and Sikkim is well settled for over 80 years is well known but that has not stopped the Chinese from creating trouble from time to time as in ’65, as Col Shruti Kant is perhaps well aware.

    Outlook in fact has more information about Chinese attempts to raise temperatures on all borders starting from Arunachal Pradesh to Ladakh, but we chose not to reveal sensitive information keeping in mind what the army fondly refers to as “national interest”. Significantly, Col Shruti Kant is silent about the problems in the other sectors.

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