Need dialogue, not war: Sushma Swaraj tells Oppn on Sikkim standoff


India, Politics

China and India have been engaged in the standoff in the Doklam area near the Bhutan tri-junction for the past one month.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (Photo: AP)

New Delhi: Minister of External Affairs (MEA) Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said in the Rajya Sabha that India has taken efforts to ease the standoff with China.

She further stated that war cannot resolve problems and that the wisdom is to resolve issues diplomatically on the issue of border stand-off with China.

"Bhutan is our neighbour and it wants help with its development. Modi's 'sabka saath, sabka vikaas' policy is not just for Indians but also for our neighbours," said MEA Sushma Swaraj.

She also said that the government is not just negotiating on Doklam, but is also talking on the bilateral relations with China.

"The solution will only come from that. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said let us not convert our difference into dispute," she said.

She further stated that Prime Minister Modi is now shaping "global agendas."

"How can the Congress ask us to not oppose the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor ( CPEC)? The previous government's foreign policy was 'PMO' driven," Sushma said in Rajya Sabha.

"The Chinese are selectively quoting Jawaharlal Nehru's letter. Peace and tranquility with China is important. Doklam can be resolved through bilateral talks," she said.

Swaraj further said that since 2012, Indian Government has not held any discussions on tri-junction with Bhutan and therefore, Chinese action in Doklam area is of "concern."

The statement came after the Opposition on Thursday cornered the government in Parliament on the standoff with China over the Doklam issue.

Congress leader Anand Sharma sought a reply from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that he "should tell the nation what he discussed with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Even National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval didn't utter a word on his meeting in China."

On July 2, China emphatically rejected India's interference in its ongoing boundary dispute with Bhutan in the Doklam area and again urged New Delhi to withdraw unconditionally and end the nearly two-month long stand-off.

China alleged that India's intrusion into its territory under the pretext of defending Bhutan's territorial claims, has not only violated Beijing's territorial sovereignty, but also challenged Bhutan's sovereignty and independence.

Indian and Chinese troops continue to be locked in a standoff in Doklam and both sides have moved additional troops, ammunition and military equipment to the area.

The stand-off emerged after Chinese troops were stopped by the Indian Army from constructing roads along the Doklam border.

India claims Sikkim border as part of its territory, while China has said that the area falls on their side as per the 1890 treaty signed between British and China.

Consequently, China suspended the annual Kailash Manasarovar Yatra and conceded that the decision to suspend the pilgrimage was due to the border scuffle.

It also alleged that the Indian troops had crossed the Sikkim sector of the Indo-China border. Beijing has accused New Delhi of violating a convention signed in 1890 between Britain and China relating to Sikkim and Tibet.