Sikkim standoff: Differences between India and China should not turn to disputes, says MEA

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Gopal Bagley on Thursday said that differences between India and China over the Doka La issue should not turn into a dispute while addressing a press conference in New Delhi.

He confirmed that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will visit Beijing for the BRICS summit on 27-28 July but refused to divulge more details. However, Bagley reiterated that India was consistent on its stand to keep all the diplomatic channels open to find a resolution.

He maintained that India would like the nature of the trilateral relations between India, China and Bhutan to be restored as before. Adding to it, he mentioned that previously Bhutan had also asked China to maintain the status quo in the region.

This statement comes as external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj accused China of trying to change the status quo in the region on Thursday.While addressing the Rajya Sabha, she said that while China was saying that India should withdraw its troops from Doka La for negotiations to begin, "we are saying that if a dialogue is to be held, then both should withdraw (their troops)".

She said that India was not doing anything unreasonable and maintained that foreign countries were supporting India's stand.

"Foreign countries are with us. They feel that China is being aggressive with a small country like Bhutan. Bhutan has protested, including in writing. All the countries feel India's stand is right and the law is with us," Sushma Swaraj said.

She added that in the past China had tried to repair roads, re-tar them but on 16 June, they came with bulldozers and construction equipment with the aim of breaching security in the region where the tri-junction point ends.

India and China have been locked in a standoff in the Doka La area in Sikkim sector near the Bhutan tri-junction for over three weeks. India raised an objection to the Chinese army's attempt to build a road in the disputed narrow stretch of land.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jul 20, 2017 16:25:01 IST