- Stand-off with China at Sikkim border began in mid-June
- Bengal Chief Minister seeks urgent discussion on border tension
- Rajya Sabha should stop other business, prioritize this: Trinamool
The West Bengal Chief Minister's party has submitted a notice which asks for all other business of the Upper House of the parliament to be suspended, pointing out that it is vulnerable geographically to the border dispute which lies at the "Chicken's Neck" - a thin wedge of land just 23 km at its widest that links mainland India to the seven northeastern states.
Speaking at the West Bengal Assembly after casting her vote in today's election for President of India, Ms Banerjee said, "If Sikkim goes under Chinese control -- and there is no difference between Sikkim and Darjeeling...then because of the mistake of the centre, because of its failure of diplomacy, the way the relations have deteriorated with China, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan...we are the worst sufferers. We have been sandwiched."
China has warned that it may incite Sikkim's calls for independence if India does not withdraw its troops from what Beijing insists is its territory. Bordering Ms Banerjee's state, Sikkim has warned that it is tired of the damages caused by the lengthy movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of Bengal and could sue Ms Banerjee's government for 60,000 crores.
Ms Banerjee's Trinamool Congress was present at a meeting on Friday evening at which Home Minister Rajnath Singh briefed the leaders of nearly 20 opposition parties on the border confrontation which began on June 16 and which has involved repeat warnings from China of "serious consequences". The government has said it is using diplomatic contact to help resolve the tension. The Chief Minister's attack is the latest in a series of battles between her and the centre over major policy issues.
Back in April, Ms Banerjee had said she was invited to visit China in June but the visit did not materialize. She was reportedly asked by the Foreign Ministry to defer her visit given the tension; however, three union ministers visited China earlier this month for sessions of the bloc that calls itself BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).
China claims that Indian soldiers crossed the border to stop it from constructing a road on a plateau in what it calls the Donglang region.
India backs Bhutan's claim that China was, in fact, constructing the road on Bhutanese soil in a part the Himalayan kingdom calls Doklam. Delhi points out that it had also warned China that the road was "a serious security concern" because it gives Beijing unacceptable proximity to the Chicken's Neck .
China has said it has every right to build a road on its own territory and has warned of serious consequences" if India does not withdraw its troops. India has said it is using all options - including diplomatic contact - to resolve the stand-off.
Amid the border dispute, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Germany on the sidelines of the G20 summit. China aggressively declared there was no bilateral or formal one-on-one meeting. India said informal discussions covered a range of issues, but government spokespersons refused to comment on whether the Sikkim confrontation was among them.
Of the nearly 3,500-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.