India ready for talks with China to end border stand-off
India said Thursday it is ready for talks with China with both sides first pulling back their armies to end the tense standoff in the Sikkim sector, stressing the need for a "peaceful resolution" of border issues.
China said that diplomatic channels with India remained "unimpeded" to discuss the military standoff in Sikkim sector but reiterated that the withdrawal of the Indian troops from Doklam area is a "precondition" for any meaningful dialogue.
NSA Ajit Doval will be travelling to Beijing to attend a BRICS meeting on July 27 and 28, the External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday.
Chinese and Indian soldiers have been locked in a face- off in Dokalam area in the southernmost part of Tibet in an area also claimed by Indian ally Bhutan for over a month after Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the disputed area. China claimed it was constructing the road within its territory and has been demanding immediate pull-out of the Indian troops.
Responding to supplementaries during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said China intends to unilaterally change the status of the tri- junction with Bhutan, posing a challenge to India's security.
On the standoff at Dokalam, she referred to the written agreement between India, China and Bhutan in 2012 that the three nations will together decide on the boundaries at the tri-junction point.
The Minister said China has been constructing roads earlier too, but now they have brought in bulldozers and excavators.
"We are saying that the matter can be resolved through talks, but both sides have to first take back their armies," she said.
The Minister also said India was not "unreasonable" on the Doklam border issue and that all nations were with it.
Observing that China was demanding the withdrawal of the Indian troops from the tri-junction point, she said India has been saying that both countries would have to withdraw their armies before amicably resolving the dispute through talks.
Swaraj said "their (China's) intention was to reach the tri-junction so that they can unilaterally end the status of the tri-junction. It was only then that India came into the picture.
"If China unilaterally changes the tri-junction point, then India's security is challenged," she said.