Sikkim standoff: Diplomatic channels will continue to be used with China, says India
New Delhi: India said Thursday it will continue to use diplomatic channels with China to resolve Dokalam stand off and insisted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held “conversation on range of issues” in Hamburg.
There is a standoff between the armies of India and China in the Dokalam area in the Sikkim sector, where Indian troops stopped road construction by Chinese soldiers on 16 June. “We have diplomatic channels available. We have embassies in both countries. Those channels will continue to be used,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said when asked about the nearly month-long stand off in Dokalam.
He also referred to foreign secretary S. Jaishankar’s remarks at an event in Singapore on the issue. Baglay noted that there were well-established and mutually agreed mechanisms to address differences on border issue as well as tri-junctions. “I would only refer you back to the information we put out after the meeting (in Hamburg). There was a picture that we had tweeted. There was a brief text that...said at the BRICS leaders’ informal meeting at Hamburg on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, the BRICS leaders an informal meeting was hosted by China. “Prime Minister Modi and President Xi had a conversation on a range of issues,” Baglay said when asked about the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman’s remarks that there was no bilateral meeting between the two leaders.
However, he refused to give details on the “range of issues”, saying, “It is not for me to comment as to what grounds the two leaders covered.” On whether Dokalam stand off also figured during the “conversation on range of issues” between Modi and Xi, Baglay said, “There was a conversation between them. There were a range of issues that was the subject matter of that conversation.”
Asked if his remarks on diplomatic resolution of Dokalam stand off indicated any shift in Chinese demand for withdrawal of Indian troops from the area, he said India has already outlined its position on the issue. “There was also a ‘conversation on a range of issues’ between the leaders of India and China in Hamburg. And today I have said that there are diplomatic channels which will continue to be used. So, you have to see everything in totality,” he asserted.
On strong rhetorics in Chinese media warning India on the Dokalam standoff, Baglay said, “This matter we are dealing with is a serious matter and it has implications. We remain engaged in addressing this matter...”
On whether national security advisor Ajit Doval was travelling to Bejing on 26 July, he said there was no information with him. Doval, who is the special representative for the India-China border talks, is expected to visit Beijing on 26 July to attend the meeting of the NSAs from BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Baglay also declined to comment on recent meeting between the top Chinese envoy and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, saying the MEA does not comment on activities of embassies or political parties.