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Sikkim border row: Sushma Swaraj calls for all-party meet on Friday over tensions with China

Seeking to bring all political parties on-board regarding the ongoing border standoff with China at the Sikkim border, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj called for an all-party meeting on Friday, NDTV reported.

The meeting, which is likely to be held at home minister Rajnath Singh's residence, is aimed at briefing the Opposition parties about the situation along the border in Sikkim where a standoff has been continuing since June.

Invitation for the meeting was sent out by the External Affairs Ministry ahead of the Monsoon Session of parliament, which is set to start from 17 July.

The development comes at the time when China continues to accuse India of camping inside Chinese territory, stating that "withdrawal" of Indian troops from its territory is the only way to resolve the border crisis.

Beijing also snubbed Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar's remarks that he sees no reason why the two nations couldn't resolve existing differences when they have resolved past differences over the border successfully.

Union minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

Union minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

Responding to Jaishankar's comments, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said said that the trespass by Indian troops in Doka La was different from "frictions is in the undefined sections of the boundary" between India and China. Geng said what happened in Doka La was a dispute.

Jaishankar, who on Tuesday was at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore to deliver a lecture, said "differences should not become disputes".

Gang said, "China has pointed out many times that the illegal trespass of Indian border troops of the mutually recognised border line is different in nature from the frictions in the undefined sections of the boundary.

"The Sikkim section has a special historical background and this is only defined boundary between India and China. And this is totally different from the undefined boundary in the east, middle and west part. According to the 1890 convention, the Sikkim section has been recognised by both China and India and this convention is effective for both countries. We again request India to withdraw the border troops to the Indian side of the boundary and properly settle this dispute at an early date," he added.

On 5 July, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said that the border standoff could be resolved diplomatically and Chinese soldiers should leave the Bhutanese territory to reduce tension in the area.

China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Dokalam area near the Bhutan tri-junction for the past 26 days after a Chinese army's construction party was stopped by Indian troops from building a road, in what China claims to be its territory.

Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.

China and Bhutan are engaged in talks over the resolution of the area. Bhutan, however, has no diplomatic ties with China and it is supported militarily and diplomatically by India.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jul 13, 2017 13:30 PM

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