The Times of India – Doklam standoff: Chinese clip mocks Sikhs, called racist

I P Singh

Jalandhar, 19 August 2017. Amid the Doklam stand-off on the Bhutanese border, the state owned Chinese news agency Xinhua has put out a three-minute video in which an actor mocks India by dressing up as a Sikh soldier.

The actor in a Sikh turban and a shabby beard clowns around on screen while the anchor attacks India in the clip titled “7 sins of India”.

The video has been uploaded on Xinhua’s site and Twitter handle at a time when India has posted burly Sikh and Jat soldiers at the Doklam tri-junction in a bid to intimidate Chinese soldiers.

The anchor in the clip starts by saying that it has been two months since Indian troops illegally crossed into China.
“The whole world is trying to wake India up but China has realized that it is impossible to awaken a guy who is pretending to be asleep,” she says and shows a man with the ill-fitting turban saying in a mock Indian accent: “Nobody’s blaming me because I’m asleep.” He then snores amid canned laughter.

UK-based Sikh Press Association called the clip, “blatant mockery of the Sikh identity”. UK-based Sikh Press Association said, “It is sad to see just how low Chinese media have stooped in using the Sikh identity as a pawn in their state propaganda against India.

Sikhs make up less than 2% of India’s population, so to use a mocked-up image of a Sikh as the face of propaganda targeted against India shows just how ill-informed Xinhua is.” Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh said, “It is racist and reflects poorly on the Chinese state-owned media. Despite the stand-off India should raise the issue with China.”

The anchor in the clip also calls Doklam undisputed Chinese territory and alleges that India is trampling on international law. She mockingly asks, “Didn’t your mama tell you never break the law?”

The clown also says, “He is building a path in his garden, I am in danger,” which is followed by another bout of laughter.The clip claims that India is holding a small neighbour like Bhutan to ransom in the name of protecting it.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/doklam-standoff-chinese-clip-mocks-sikhs-called-racist/articleshow/60130823.cms

The Times of India – Doklam standoff fails to affect services at Shanghai gurdwara

Yudhvir Rana

19 August 2017. Amritsar: The Doklam standoff between India and China has failed to affect the only gurdwara in Shanghai, which continues to hold weekly darbar and perform other religious services as usual.

“There is no war mongering or even any such hype here among the locals. Whatever we hear is largely from the Indian media,” said Satbir Singh while speaking to TOI over phone from Shanghai on Friday.

Satbir has converted a portion of his house in Shanghai into a gurdwara, where saroop of Guru Granth Sahib is installed and a weekly darbar held. Devotees comprising Sikhs and Hindu, including Sindhis, come to the gurdwara frequently. According to Satbir, there are only eight Sikh families, besides Hindu and Sindhi, in Shanghai.

The other two gurdwaras in China are at Keqiao and Yiwu in Zhejiang province.

While denying that Indo-China standoff was a topic of discussion among locals, he said the Chinese locals had very cordial relations with the Indians in Shanghai. “Many a times, some of them even accompany their Hindu, Sikh or Sindhi friends to the gurdwara and feel blessed,” he said.

Satbir’s father had worked for about 30 years in China and shifted to Shanghai from Hong Kong about 12 years ago. On an average, the weekly gurdwara darbar has a gathering of around 60 people. “There are other people who visit the gurdwara daily,” he said.

Sushil Balani, who has business ties with China, said there was more of media hype than anything on ground. “Till now, business is as usual with China. All the transactions are normal, many businessmen are still in China and none of them have returned,” he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/doklam-standoff-fails-to-affect-services-at-shanghai-gurdwara/articleshow/60126778.cms

The Hindu – President Ram Nath Kovind to visit Leh on Monday

The President’s visit will come amid the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam

Sandeep Phukan

New Delhi, 17 August 2017. President Ram Nath Kovind will make a day-long trip to Leh next Monday to honour the 14 Corps of the Army headquartered in Ladakh, amid the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam and just days after they clashed in the Ladakh region.

Mr Kovind will present the Presidential Colours, a rare military honour, to the infantry unit of the 14 Corps in recognition of its exceptional service. But the importance of the Supreme Commander addressing the troops in the border region will not be lost. However, sources in the Rashtrapati Bhavan said the visit was a pre-scheduled one.

Ladakh shares an open border with both Pakistan and China. In recent times, the relations between Indian and Chinese troops have hit a rough patch here too, because of the stand-off at Doklam in the Sikkim sector.

Senior officers of the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army met at Chushul (Leh) met on Wednesday to ease the tensions after the troops were engaged in a scuffle and stone-throwing.

On August 15, Indian troops claimed that the Chinese troops along the Pangong Lake tried to cross over twice. They were stopped by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police before a skirmish started. One-third of the 135-km-long Pangong Lake is on the Indian side and the rest on the Chinese side.

Against this backdrop, a presidential visit assumes significance, though the Rashtrapati Bhavan sources told The Hindu that “too much” should not be read into it.

The last time a President visited Ladakh was in September 2010, when Pratibha Patil travelled to the strategic region after a cloudburst caused large-scale devastation.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kovind-to-visit-leh-on-monday/article19511225.ece

The Hindustan Times – India deploys more troops along China border in Sikkim, Arunachal, ‘caution level’ raised

India-China ties are currently under strain after New Delhi, along with Bhutan, raised concerns over Beijing’s attempts to build a road in the disputed Doklam area in the Sikkim sector.

New Delhi, 11 Aug 2017. In a strategically key move, India has poured in more troops along the entire stretch of its border with China in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the face of heightened rhetoric by Beijing over the Doklam standoff, senior government officials said on Friday.

The “caution level” among the troops has also been raised, the officials told PTI.

The decision to increase the deployment along the nearly 1,400 km Sino-India border from Sikkim to Arunachal Pradesh was taken after carrying out a detailed analysis of the situation and considering China’s aggressive posturing against India on Doklam, the officials said.

“The troop level along the border with China in the Sikkim and Arunachal sectors has been increased,” said the officials on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

The Army’s Sukna-based 33 Corps as well as 3 and 4 corps based in Arunachal and Assam are tasked to protect the sensitive Sino-India border in the eastern theatre.

The officials declined to give any figure or percentage of increased deployment, saying they cannot disclose “operational details.”

According to defence experts, roughly 45,000 troops including personnel having completed the weather acclimatisation process are normally kept ready along the border at any given time, but not all are necessarily deployed.

The soldiers, deployed over 9,000 feet, have to go through a 14-day-long acclimatisation process.

The officials, however, said there is no enhancement of troops at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction in Doklam where around 350 army personnel are holding on to their position for nearly eight weeks after stopping Chinese troops from constructing a road on June 16.

Bhutan and China have competing claims over Doklam, and are negotiating a resolution.

China has been ramping up rhetoric against India over the last few weeks, demanding immediate withdrawal of Indian troops from Dokalam. The Chinese state media, particularly, has carried a barrage of critical articles on the Dokalam stand-off slamming India.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj recently said both sides should first pull back their troops for any talks to take place, and favoured a peaceful resolution of the border standoff.

India also conveyed to the Chinese government that the road construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for it.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-deploys-more-troops-along-china-border-in-sikkim-arunachal/story-TJj9nVPn776GqzymgHZScI.html

The Hindu – Doklam: Give up illusion, Beijing tells New Delhi

Says no country should underestimate its forces

Atul Aneja

Beijing, 4 August 2017. China’s defence ministry on Thursday stepped up calls for immediate withdrawal of Indian troops from the Doklam plateau. It asserted that Beijing will “resolutely protect” the country’s territorial sovereignty and security interests.

In a statement released on Thursday night, defence ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang urged the “Indian side to give up the illusion of its delaying tactic, as no country should underestimate the Chinese forces’ confidence and capability to safeguard peace and their resolve and willpower to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests”.

“Chinese armed forces will resolutely protect the country’s territorial sovereignty and security interests,” he said.

The statement reiterated the Chinese position that Indian troops in Doklam were being scaled down. It pointed out that as of Thursday “there are still Indian border troops illegally staying in the Chinese territory”.

A 15-page statement by the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday fixed the Indian troop presence at “over 40,” from a peak of 400 and in New Delhi, Liu Jinsong, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Chinese embassy said on Thursday that Indian forces in Doklam numbered 48.

Colonel Ren said that since the incident occurred, “China has shown utmost goodwill and sought to communicate with India through diplomatic channels to resolve the incident.

Chinese armed forces have also shown a high level of restraint with an eye to the general bilateral relations and the regional peace and stability”. But he warned that “goodwill has its principles and restraint has its bottom line”.

Colonel Ren called upon India to “swiftly address the situation in a proper manner to restore peace and tranquillity in the border region”.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/chinese-defence-ministry-reinforces-demand-for-indias-immediate-pullback-from-doklam/article19427343.ece

The Indian Express – Sushma Swaraj: Doklam not only issue, solution will emerge through dialogue

With some members saying that the country should be ready for war, Sushma Swaraj reminded them that a standing army was there for such situations.

Shubhajit Roy & Anand Mishra

New Delhi, 4 August 2017. Underlining that China has been contributing to India’s growing economic might, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Thursday said dialogue is the only way out of the Doklam standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at the trijunction with Bhutan.

This should be seen in the context of the “entire bilateral relationship”. She ruled out war as an option, saying a solution can only be reached through dialogue.

Speaking in Rajya Sabha, where she was replying to a discussion on India’s foreign policy, Swaraj said: “Hamari jo aarthik kshamta badh rahi hai, usme China ka yogdaan hai… unka yahan bahut zyada risk, stake hai… kitne zyada contract unhe diye huye hain (China has contributed to our growing economic strength. For them, there’s a lot at stake, risk here. They have been awarded many contracts).”

Pointing out that BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra had said that the government should negotiate with China not just on Doklam, but the entire relationship, she said, “We are not negotiating only on Doklam, we are talking about bilateral relations in entirety. And a solution will also emerge from it.”

“As far as economic strength is concerned, China is one of the leading countries among major contributors and economic partners. That’s why Doklam is not the lone issue. So, a solution will definitely emerge if we engage in dialogue on bilateral relations.”

With some members saying that the country should be ready for war, Swaraj reminded them that a standing army was there for such situations. But even after a war, she said, a solution can only be arrived at through dialogue. She called for “patience” and “restraint” in dealing with the situation, and also the need for “restraint in statements”.

On Thursday, Chinese diplomats again said that patience was running thin in the Chinese establishment. They warned of consequences if Indian troops did not vacate what they call “Chinese territory”. A senior Chinese diplomat said there were 48 Indian soldiers at Doklam, Indian officials said 350 Indian soldiers were present there.

During her reply in the House, Swaraj also took a swipe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. She said he had met the Chinese ambassador in New Delhi but had not bothered to first get the Indian government’s position on the Doklam issue.

“He should have first heard the Indian government’s view, and then should have confronted the Chinese envoy with facts. Instead, he met the Chinese ambassador to get facts on Doklam,” she said, remarks that were objected to by Anand Sharma of the Congress.

Later, reading from a prepared statement, Swaraj referred to a 15-page statement of the Chinese government. “The Chinese side, in their recent document published on the website of their Foreign Ministry, had expressed commitment to maintaining peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas.

India always believes that peace and tranquility in the India-China border is an important pre-requisite for smooth development of our bilateral relations.”

“We will continue to engage with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels to find a mutually acceptable solution on the basis of the Astana Consensus between our leaders.

I note the sense of the House is supportive in this regard. In keeping the traditional friendship with Bhutan, we will also continue to maintain close consultation and coordination with the Royal Government of Bhutan.”

She said that both these aspects of trijunction points and India-China boundary alignment in the Sikkim sector had earlier been addressed in a written common understanding reached between the Special Representatives of India and China on the boundary question in December 2012.

“Point 13 of the common understanding states that ‘The trijunction boundary points between India, China and third countries will be finalised in consultation with the concerned countries. Since 2012, we have not held any discussion on the trijunction with Bhutan. The Chinese action in the Doklam area is therefore of concern,” she said.

Swaraj also said: “We have noted that the Chinese side has selectively quoted parts of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s letter of 22nd March, 1959 pertaining to the India-China boundary in the Sikkim sector.

A full and accurate account of that letter would have also brought out Prime Minister Nehru’s assertion that was clearly based on the boundary alignment as shown in our Indian published maps,” she said.

Sushma Swaraj: Doklam not only issue, solution will emerge through dialogue

BBC News – Why is the India-China border stand-off escalating?

Soutik Biswas, India correspondent

New Delhi, 20 July 2017. If you browse through the latest headlines about the now month-long border stand-off between India and China, you might think the Asian rivals are teetering on the brink of an armed conflict.

The rhetoric is full of foreboding and menace. A Delhi newspaper says China is warning that the stand-off “could escalate into full-scale conflict”. Another echoes a similar sentiment, saying “China stiffens face-off posture”.

In Beijing, the state-run media has begun reminding India of its defeat in the 1962 war over the border, digging out old reports and pictures of the conflict.

Global Times has been particularly bellicose, first accusing India of undermining Bhutan’s sovereignty by interfering in the road project, and then declaring that if India “stirs up conflicts in several spots, it must face the consequences of all-out confrontation with China”.

The latest row erupted in mid-June when India opposed China’s attempt to extend a border road through a plateau known as Doklam in India and Donglang in China.

The plateau, which lies at a junction between China, the north-eastern Indian state of Sikkim and the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, is currently disputed between Beijing and Bhutan. India supports Bhutan’s claim over it.

India is concerned that if the road is completed, it will give China greater access to India’s strategically vulnerable “chicken’s neck”, a 20km (12-mile) wide corridor that links the seven north-eastern states to the Indian mainland. And since this stand-off began, each side has reinforced its troops and called on the other to back down.

There is a dreadful sense of deja vu about the way the stand-off appears to be escalating.

This is not the first time the two neighbours who share a rocky relationship have faced off on the ill-defined border, where minor incursions by troops have been common. The region saw armed clashes between China and India in 1967, and a prolonged stand-off and build-up of troops along the border in Arunachal Pradesh in 1986-87.

Delhi believes that Beijing is testing India’s commitment to Bhutan in the latest stand-off, writes analyst Ajai Shukla. “China has always been galled by this close relationship, which has withstood sustained Chinese pressure to divide it,” he says.

This time China has upped the ante against India. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday that Indian forces should leave the area to avoid an “escalation of the situation”.

Not a bluff

Indian analysts believe China’s warnings cannot be ignored. “In general, the Chinese pattern of use of force has been to prepare the ground with adequate statements and warnings. Hence, I think we should not take them lightly or see it as a bluff,” a China expert told me.

In 1962, the state-run news agency Xinhua warned well in advance that India should “pull back from the brink of war”.
During the Korean War in 1950 which pitted the US and its allies against the USSR, North Korea and communist China, the Chinese warned the US through India that if they crossed the Yalu River the Chinese would be forced to enter the war.

To be true, this doesn’t mean that China is girding up for war. As things stand, both sides can share some blame for the stand-off in what is a strategically important area.

In 2012, India and China agreed that the tri-junction boundaries with Bhutan and Myanmar (also called Burma) would be finally decided in consultation with these countries. Until then, the status quo would prevail.

India believes China violated the status quo by building the road. Indian troops were sent to resist their Chinese counterparts in the area only after Bhutan, which has close ties with India, requested India to help.

China insists Indian troops invaded Doklam/Donglang to help Bhutan, and it was a violation of international law. Mr Lu says India should not “take trespass as a policy tool to reach or realise their political targets”.

Some analysts say India possibly made a mistake by openly conflating the building of the road with talk of potential “serious security implications for India”.

“I agree that there were security concerns, but it was wrong for India to voice them strongly. We could have just said that China had breached the status quo. By overplaying the security angle, we may have scored an own goal, and the Chinese are exploiting it,” an analyst told me.

Tricky situation

He has a point. Long Xingchun, an analyst at a Chinese think-tank, says “a third country’s” army could enter the disputed region of Kashmir at Pakistan’s request, using the “same logic” the Indian army has used to stop the Chinese troops from building the road in Doklam/Donglang.

“Even if India were requested to defend Bhutan’s territory, this could only be limited to its established territory, not the disputed area.”

Clearly, for the stand-off to end, all three sides need an agreeable solution without losing face. As China hardens its position, many believe that finding a “three-way, face saving solution” would be tricky and time consuming. Relations between the two countries are also at their lowest ebb in many years.

Both sides possibly passed up an opportunity to resolve the crisis earlier this month when a potential meeting between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg did not happen.

India said a meeting with Mr Xi had never been on Mr Modi’s agenda; and China’s foreign ministry had said the atmosphere was not right for a meeting.

There’s another window of opportunity coming up. India’s influential National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is to visit Beijing for a meeting of Brics nations later this month. Mr Doval, who is also the special representative for the India-China border, is likely to meet his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

“Both sides have made it a prestige issue. But diplomacy is all about keeping things going in difficult circumstances,” a former diplomat says.

Despite the deteriorating relationship, a war is unlikely to break out.

“I don’t think either side wants an armed conflict. Nobody is interested in a war. Nothing in the [stand-off] area is worth a conflict. But both sides see their reputations at stake and that could lead to a prolonged stand-off,” Srinath Raghavan, a senior fellow at the leading Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research think-tank told me.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-40653053

The Asian Age – The challenge of living next to China

The writer, a policy analyst studying economic and security issues, held senior positions in government and industry. He also specialises in the Chinese economy

Mohan Guruswamy

Op/Ed, 23 Jul 2017. The ongoing Doklam standoff between India and China has to be seen in the larger context. The event was clearly precipitated by China’s sudden move to shift the India-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction. There has been a long-standing dispute between Bhutan and China on the Doklam plateau.

Tibetan and Bhutanese herdsmen have, for long, peacefully grazed their livestock on the grassy plain, till a few years ago, Chinese horsemen wearing People’s Liberation Army (PLA) tunics and with military issue binoculars, started accompanying the Tibetan herdsmen.

That’s when the Bhutanese objected and it became a dispute between their militaries.

The subsequent meetings between the PLA and Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) officials in Thimphu and New Delhi have always been in the presence of Indian military officers. India has always had a special relationship with Bhutan, which is underscored by a treaty.

India stations a brigade in Bhutan and substantially trains, arms and funds the Bhutan military.

India and China also have an Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the India-China Border Areas signed in 1993 by President Jiang Zemin and Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao. This agreement specifies that both sides will not try to alter the status quo by building permanent structures.

Both sides can undertake patrolling but cannot hunker down for a length of time. It is this agreement that has ensured peace, if not tranquility, on the border. This agreement implicitly applies to the Tibet-Bhutan border.

China has always understood that if push came to shove, India is bound to act on the side of Bhutan, specially as its own security is vitally dependent on it.

So why did China choose to disturb the tranquility now? Clearly the impetus to this situation came from China. Suddenly raising the ante has been central to China’s diplomacy and quest for primacy, be it on land or sea boundaries, with all its neighbours.

China has now coupled this creeping aggressiveness with aggressive soft power diplomacy, which has been widely seen as arguably the most important element in shaping the regional strategic environment, transforming the entire region’s dynamics.

By providing large loans on generous repayment terms, investing in major infrastructure projects such as the building of roads, dams, ports, power plants and railways, and offering military assistance and political support at the UN Security Council through its veto powers, China has secured considerable goodwill and influence among countries in the region around India.

The list of countries that are coming within China’s strategic orbit appears to be growing. Sri Lanka, which has seen China replace Japan as its largest donor, is a case in point, China was no doubt instrumental in ensuring that Sri Lanka was granted dialogue partner status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

China has made major inroads in Nepal and has forged ideological and pecuniary relationships with many leading Nepalese politicians and opinion-makers. Anti-Indianism, always a given in Nepali domestic politics, is growing more legs now.

Most recently China has been attempting to bring a change in India’s historical and treaty relationship with Bhutan. The Doklam incident must be seen through this prism. By coming quickly and decisively on the side of Bhutan, India has, for now, thwarted Chinese designs. If this situation is settled, there will surely be others.

The rise of China as the world’s greatest exporter, its largest manufacturing nation and its great economic appetite poses a new set of challenges.

At a meeting of South-East Asian nations in 2010, China’s foreign minister Yang Jiechi, facing a barrage of complaints about his country’s behaviour in the region, blurted out the sort of thing polite leaders usually prefer to leave unsaid.

“China is a big country,” he pointed out, “and other countries are small countries and that is just a fact.”

But history tells us again and again that victory is not assured by superiority in numbers and even technology.

If that were to be so, Alexander should have been defeated at Gaugamela, Babur at Panipat, Wellington at Waterloo, Russia at Leningrad, Britain in the Falklands, and above all Vietnam who defeated three of the world’s leading powers, France, the US and China, in succession.

Numbers do matter, but numbers are not all. Technology does matter, but technology alone cannot assure you victory. It’s always mind over matter. As the old saying goes: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”

Now comes the dilemma for India. Robert Kaplan writes: “As the United States and China become great power rivals, the direction in which India tilts could determine the course of geo-politics in Eurasia in the 21st century.

India, in other words, looms at the ultimate pivot state.” At another time Alfred Thayer Mahan noted that India, located in the centre of the Indian Ocean littoral, is critical for the seaward penetration of both West Asia and China.

The Tibetan desert, once intended to be India’s buffer against the north, has now become China’s buffer against India. The planner will not be looking at all if he or she were not looking at the Indian Ocean as a theatre. After all, it is also China’s lifeline and its lifeblood flows here.

Now if one were a Chinese planner, he or she would be looking with concern over India’s growth and increasing ability to project power in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

The planner will also note what experts are saying about India’s growth trajectory, that it is the ultimate pivot state in the grand struggle for primacy between the West led by the US and Japan, and China.

What will this planner be thinking, particularly given the huge economic and military asymmetry between China and India now?

Tacitus tells it most pithily, that peace can come through strength or ‘Si vis pacem, para bellum’ (If you want peace, prepare for war). India might be behind China but it must keep building strength, always be ready and never flinch.

http://www.asianage.com/opinion/columnists/230717/the-challenge-of-living-next-to-china.html

The Hindustan Times – India engaged in negotiations with China on Sikkim standoff: Government tells Opposition at all-party meet

In response to the opposition leaders’ call for using “active diplomatic channels”, the Centre said it is engaged in negotiations to ease the tension in the Doklam region of the Sikkim sector.

Jayanth Jacob and Saubhadra Chatterji

New Delhi, 14 July 2017. The government reached out to the opposition parties and some of its allies on Friday to build a consensus on the border standoff with China ahead of Parliament’s monsoon session, but faced tough questions on the delay in resolving the dispute.

In response to the opposition leaders’ call for using “active diplomatic channels”, the Centre said it is engaged in negotiations to ease the tension in the Doklam region of the Sikkim sector.

The government briefed the leaders about the Chinese incursion as tension between the two Asian giants escalated in the past three weeks over the standoff at Doklam, located at a narrow but strategically important tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan.

As the impasse festered, opposition parties criticised the government for what they said not taking them into confidence on issues of national interest and security.

At a meeting at home minister Rajnath Singh’s residence, foreign secretary S Jaishankar and home secretary Rajeev Mehrishi made a detailed presentation on the India-China border issue and Monday’s militant attack on Amarnath pilgrims.

Jaishankar was quoted by opposition members as saying that China is trying to change the status quo along its southern border.

He talked about the diplomatic process to resolve one of the longest border standoff in recent times.

Opposition leaders, including Congress’ Anand Sharma and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, wanted to know why the impasse happened in 2017 and why the government is unable to find a solution through negotiations and discussions. Most leaders, including the NCP’s Sharad Pawar, seconded the questions.

“What triggered the standoff?” Sharma asked.

The Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPM and Shiv Sena, which is an NDA ally, fielded a flurry of questions. Some of the opposition leaders later said they didn’t get satisfactory answers.

“We said that on issues of national security and integrity of the country, we are with the government,” Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien said.

Jaishankar informed the leaders about the strategic significance of Doklam and said the faceoff needs to be seen in the context of the Siliguri corridor, the narrow stretch of land connecting the Northeast with the country.

“There was widespread appreciation of the understanding between India and China that differences between them shouldn’t become disputes,” foreign ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said.

The Shiv Sena took an aggressive stand and sought action and “not mere talks” from the Centre.

But AIADMK parliamentarian A Navaneethakrishnan said they are satisfied with the government’s response.

Former defence minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who represented the Samajwadi Party at the meeting, said the government needs to be careful about dealing with China.

Defence minister Arun Jaitley, home minister Singh and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj along with national security adviser Ajit Doval were present at the meeting.

It was decided that Mulayam Singh and Pawar, two former defence ministers, would meet Jaitley on the China issue. Swaraj called another meeting on Saturday to brief other party leaders.

The government also briefed the leaders on the attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag in which seven Amarnath pilgrims were shot dead by militants when they returning from the shrine.

Several leaders said the government couldn’t come up with a credible reason to explain security lapses that led to the attack.

“Why was there a lapse and security failure?” asked O’Brien.

The leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress, wanted to know why the bus took four hours for a two-hour journey and why it was allowed to travel at night.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-engaged-in-negotiations-with-china-on-sikkim-standoff-govt-tells-oppn-at-all-party-meet/story-WkUk6lGnzOc9IPoARoG3TI.html

The Hindu – India must move back: China

Foreign Ministry says stand-off can be ended at an early date if this happens

Atul Aneja

Beijing, 12 July 2017. China on Wednesday signalled its intent to end the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the Doklam area at an early date, if Indian forces withdraw to what it called the “Indian side of the boundary”.

Adopting a less harsh tone than in the recent past, when it had characterised India’s alleged intrusion into Chinese territory as a “betrayal” and insisted that the withdrawal of Indian forces was a “precondition” for talks, the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said: “We once again require India to withdraw the border troops to the Indian side of the boundary and properly settle this dispute at an early date.”

Responding to remarks by the former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon during an interview with The Hindu, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said the current face-off was different from the past.

“China has pointed out many times the illegal trespass of Indian border troops of the mutually recognised border line into China’s territory.

This is different in nature from the frictions that happened in the undefined sections of the boundary. The Sikkim section has special historical background and this is the only defined boundary between China and India. And this is different from the undefined boundary in the east, middle, and west,” he said.

“According to the 1890 convention, the boundary has been defined and both Chinese and Indian governments have recognised this. And this convention is effective for both countries.”

The stand-off is happening near the western tri-junction of India, Bhutan and China.

“The Sikkim tri-junction is basically the watershed between the Amo (also called the Torsa river) and the Teesta rivers in the Chumbi Valley, so it is clear, and parts of it have been settled.

Since 1960, when this was discussed, both sides have constantly said that this boundary is not such a problem. But the tri-junction remained to be settled, and that is a part of the issue,” Mr. Menon said.

Separately, asked to comment on whether China was ready to engage in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, in the wake of the recent exchange of fire across the Line of Control (LoC), Mr. Geng said: “China is willing to play a constructive role in improving relations between India and Pakistan.”

Kashmir issue

Significantly, he also highlighted the Kashmir dispute outside its bilateral context, by pointing out that it had attracted the attention of the “international community”. Besides, Mr Geng flagged the exchange of fire across the Line of Control (LoC) as a factor undermining “regional stability.”

“Both India and Pakistan are important countries in South Asia. The conflicts occurred near the Line of Control, Kashmir. This will not only harm the peace and stability of the two countries but also the peace and tranquillity of the region.”

The spokesperson hoped that “the relevant sides can do more things that are conducive to the peace and stability of the region and avoid the escalation of tensions”.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/india-must-move-back-china/article19265414.ece