Doval, Yang hold talks amid Sikkim standoff

28 July, 2017, 00:26 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • PLA officers on the Chinese side of the international border at Nathula Pass along the border with of Sikkim

When asked about the possibility of the current dispute escalating, Luo Zhaohui, China's ambassador to India, did not dismiss the likelihood of such a development. Doval is now in China to attend a two-day Brics meeting with his counterparts from Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.

While the overwhelming focus of the global media is on the ongoing India-China standoff in Doklam in the trijunction area, the Chinese media hasn't scaled down on its rhetoric much.

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Nonetheless, China remains on the fact that there cannot be any meaningful dialogue without the return of the Indian Army, but the Chinese Foreign Ministry had indicated a bilateral meeting between Doval and Yang, which is part of the Brix's NSA meeting.

Doval reached Beijing on Thursday ahead of his planned meetings with Chinese president Xi Jinping and State Counsellor Yang Jeiche on Friday. The group of NSAs will call on the Chinese President for an interaction on security issues relating to BRICS countries. It has also protested against the road construction by Chinese troops in Doklam. The meet, where the five-nation bloc traditionally discusses counterterrorism and security issues, assumes significance in the view of festering border row between India and China. The Indian army had stopped the Chinese army from crossing the Indo-Bhutan-China border, after which China and India's army face-to-face for more than a month. But both sides have acknowledged that talks were held through diplomatic channels to ease the tension.

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China claimed that it was constructing the road within its territory.

Foreign minister Wang Yi told reporters Bangkok earlier this week the "problem was very straightforward" and "even Indian officials publicly said that Chinese soldiers didn't enter the Indian territory". He said that India should "conscientiously withdraw" its troops from the area. China has made it clear that the scope for negotiations can arise on the condition of withdrawal of Indian troops from the disputed territory. In April, a top Indian official accompanied the Dalai Lama to the border of Tibet, shrugging off China's public insistence that the journey be halted.

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Last week, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told Parliament that both sides should first pull back their troops for any talks to take place, favouring a peaceful resolution of the border standoff.

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