Diplomacy at work to end China stand-off

Members of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch during a protest against China near the Chinese embassy in New Delhi earlier in July.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Diplomatic channels are still being used to resolve the stand-off between India and China despite rising rhetoric from Beijing, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday, continuing to strike a measured note on the situation at the Sikkim tri-junction that has entered the second month.

“We have diplomatic channels, we have embassies in both capitals that are available and they will continue to be used,” MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said, repeating Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s comments on Tuesday that India and China were a “factor of stability” in a turbulent world, and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed not to allow “differences to become disputes.”

“The Foreign Secretary’s speech underlines our approach. We are very sure of the approach we are taking on this issue,” Mr. Baglay said, refusing to be drawn out on comments from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs that have repeatedly repudiated the MEA’s comments and have denied the contention that Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi had a substantial conversation on the sidelines of the G20 and Mr. Jaishankar’s statement that the stand-off mirrors previous such encounters.

“[It] is utterly different in nature from the previous frictions between the two sides at the undefined sections of the China-India boundary,” Chinese spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Wednesday, again urging India to immediately pull its troops back to the Indian side of the boundary and “properly settle this incident.”

However, the MEA spokesperson didn’t confirm or deny if National Security Adviser Ajit Doval will travel to Beijing for a scheduled meeting of NSA’s of all BRICS countries on July 27-28 ahead of the BRICS summit in Xiamen in September that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend. Despite the tensions over the Doklam situation where hundreds of Indian and Chinese troops are believed to have camped out across from each other on territory claimed by Bhutan, the government has been sending Ministers and officials for all the BRICS meetings on Agriculture, Education, Culture and Environment being held in China in June and July.

Mr. Baglay also refused to respond to the state-owned China People’s Daily that published a repeat of an editorial from 1962 just before the Sino-Indian War, saying that he wouldn’t “comment on opinions or editorials in the media.”

However, India dismissed the Chinese spokesperson’s reference to the Kashmir issue unequivocally. “We have seen the report that they said Kashmir is central to peace and stability in the region. Our stand is absolutely clear, at the heart of the matter is cross border terrorism perpetrated on the people of India including the people of Jammu and Kashmir.…As far as the Kashmir issue is concerned, we have been ready to have dialogue on all issues Pakistan, but in a bilateral framework,” the spokesperson said.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 7:03:00 AM |

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