White House avoids commenting on Sikkim standoff, says 'have seen such reports'


World, Americas

The remarks come amid a standoff between the militaries of India and China in the Doklam area in the Sikkim sector.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany

Washington: The US on Tuesday avoided commenting on the Sikkim standoff between the armies of India and China, saying that it has seen such reports.

"We have seen these reports (of India-China border skirmish). We refer you to the Governments of India and China for further information," said a spokesperson of the National Security Council, White House.

Read: Sikkim row: Indian Army not to retreat; set for long haul in Doklam

The remarks come amid a standoff between the militaries of India and China in the Doklam area in the Sikkim sector, where Indian troops stopped road construction by Chinese soldiers.

India has said it is "deeply concerned at the recent Chinese actions and has conveyed to the Chinese government that such construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India".

China has been calling for immediate withdrawal of the Indian troops from the area.

Earlier on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had said, India and China have handled border issues in the past and there is no reason the two countries will not be able to handle them this time.

Read: India, China have handled disputes before, why not now: Jaishankar on Sikkim row

"It is a long border, as you know no part of the border has been agreed upon on the ground. It is likely that from time to time there are differences," Jaishankar said.

He was responding to questions on the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Dokalam area of the Sikkim sector at a lecture on 'India-ASEAN and the Changing Geopolitics'.

Meanwhile, an analyst at a Chinese think tank had said, "third country's" Army could enter Kashmir at Pakistan's request, using the "same logic" the Indian Army used to stop the Chinese military from constructing a road in the Doklam area in the Sikkim sector on behalf of Bhutan.

"Even if India were requested to defend Bhutan's territory, this could only be limited to its established territory, not the disputed area," Long Xingchun, Director at the Centre for Indian Studies at China West Normal University, said in the article he wrote in the Global Times.