New Delhi: Other countries back India in its standoff with China, said Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj today about the dispute at the border in Sikkim which began more than a month ago. The minister told parliament that "both sides must pull back troops and work things out with talks" while stressing that India's action is motivated by its need to protect its security near where the boundaries of China, India and Bhutan meet.
- On Tuesday, China claimed foreign envoys "shocked" by India's action
- All countries back India, counters Sushma Swaraj in parliament
- Stand-off with China at Sikkim border has crossed a month
"If China, unilaterally changes the status quo of the tri-junction point, it is a straight challenge to our security," said the Foreign Minister today.
The Chinese government accepted that diplomatic channels are open but repeated it will hold talks with India only after Indian troops are removed." "Our diplomatic channel is unimpeded," said a government spokesperson at a press conference in Beijing today, but added, "the withdrawal of the Indian border troops is the precondition for any meaningful dialogue and the communication between the two sides."
Despite no signs of a climbdown, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will travel to China next week for a meeting of BRICS - the bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -said the government. It did not rule out the possibility of a bilateral meeting for him with top Chinese officials.
China says that on June 16, Indian troops crossed the border at Sikkim to stop the construction of a road that it is entitled to build on its own turf on a plateau it calls Donglang. Bhutan and India say the area -- known as the Doklam plateau in India - is Bhutanese.
"As long as it was between China and Bhutan, we had nothing to do with it," said Ms Swaraj in parliament today of the competing claims over the land. "But since this deals with the tri-junction point, it affects our security position."
Ms Swaraj said in parliament that "India has not said anything unreasonable" and that "all countries are in India's support". The government has been stressing that it is working diplomatic channels to defuse the tension; Beijing, on the other hand, has spoken harshly with warnings of "serious consequences" and has said it will engage in no dialogue till India pulls back its soldiers - a stand it repeated today. "The withdrawal of the Indian border troops is the precondition for any meaningful dialogue and the communication between the two sides" said a government spokesperson at a press conference in Beijing.
Ms Swaraj's assertion today on other countries agreeing with India's stand counters China's claim on Tuesday that foreign diplomats in Beijing said they were "shocked" by India's action. Indian sources have confirmed that foreign embassies in Delhi have expressed concern about the simmering tension and have been reassured of Delhi's commitment to finding a peaceful solution.
India has also pointed out that it had warned China that the road would be seen as a serious security issue because it gives Beijing access to the so-called Chicken's Neck, a narrow piece of land linking mainland India with its seven north-eastern states. China has said the road-building is a poor excuse by India to enter territory that does not belong to it.
Yesterday, Uttar Pradesh leader Mulayam Singh Yadav told parliament that he believes China is preparing to attack India with the help of its long-term ally, Pakistan. He said nuclear weapons have been placed by Beijing in Pakistan for the assault, and asked for intelligence agencies to investigate.