‘Closely and carefully’ following India-China standoff, says US

“We would encourage them to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions,” Ms. Nauert said.

July 21, 2017 11:05 am | Updated 11:05 am IST - Washington

US State Department spokesman Heather Nauert.

US State Department spokesman Heather Nauert.

The US is “closely and carefully” following the border standoff between India and China, the Trump administration said today, urging the two Asian countries to engage in direct dialogue to reduce the tension.

“This is a situation that we are following closely and carefully. I’d have to refer you to the governments of India and China for more information on that,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.

She said Indian and China were talking on the issue.

“(And) they’re going to talk to one another,” she said, referring to the visit of India’s National Security Adviser Ajit K Doval to Beijing for a meeting of the NSAs from BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — on July 27-28.

“We would encourage them to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions,” Ms. Nauert said.

India said on Thursday it was ready for talks with China but both sides first pull back their armies to end the tense standoff in the Sikkim sector, and called for a “peaceful resolution” of the border issues between the countries.

China responded that the diplomatic channels with India remained “unimpeded” but reiterated that the withdrawal of the Indian troops from Doklam area is a “precondition” for any meaningful dialogue.

Chinese and Indian soldiers have been locked in a face-off in Doklam area in the southernmost part of Tibet for over a month after Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road, fearing it may allow China to cut India’s access to its northeastern states.

India has conveyed to China that the construction of the road would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for New Delhi.

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