Delhi discusses Doklam faceoff with visiting Australia Minister

Worried over the possibility of “escalation of tensions” between India and China, Bishop, on her part, urged New Delhi and Beijing to resolve the issue peacefully because Australia did not want to see any escalation that could result in “miscalculation” and “misjudgement”.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published:July 19, 2017 5:15 am
 Sikkim standoff, Doklam standoff, India, China, India-China relations, India-Bhutan-china, Australian minister Julie Bishop, Sushma Swaraj, india news, indian express External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with her Australian counterpart Julie Bishop in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI photo)

A month into the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at the trijunction with Bhutan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Tuesday discussed the Doklam faceoff with visiting Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. This is the first time that New Delhi has discussed the standoff with a visiting foreign leader.

Worried over the possibility of “escalation of tensions” between India and China, Bishop, on her part, urged New Delhi and Beijing to resolve the issue peacefully because Australia did not want to see any escalation that could result in “miscalculation” and “misjudgement”.

The Australian Foreign Minister’s carefully chosen words reflected the sense of unease in the international community over the tension between India and China.

After meeting Modi, Jaitley and Swaraj, Bishop confirmed that the Doklam standoff was a “subject of discussion” with all three leaders. The Prime Minister’s Office, in a statement, said Modi and Bishop discussed “regional and global issues of mutual interest”.

Speaking to a group of mediapersons, Bishop said, “My understanding is that this is a long-term dispute… it was the subject of discussion today. Australia’s position is that territorial disputes should be resolved peacefully between the claimant countries. And in case of maritime disputes, it should be subject to UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea). Likewise, with land disputes, these should be resolved peacefully between competing claimants. And we urge countries to do that. We don’t want to see any escalation of tensions that could lead to miscalculation and misjudgement.”

The Indian government’s outreach with a strategic partner is the first such diplomatic move, and is being perceived as New Delhi’s effort to brief the international community on the Indian version of events.

Shortly after the standoff began, Modi visited Israel and then travelled to Hamburg in Germany for the G-20 summit, and there was no mention of “discussions” on the border crisis with any G-20 leader. His only conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to the Ministry of External Affairs, had “covered a range of issues” — without specifying whether Doklam was discussed.

On Tuesday, The Indian Express reported that China has conveyed to foreign diplomats in Beijing that troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been waiting patiently at the plateau — China claims the Bhutanese land at the trijunction with India and calls it Donglong — but will not wait for an indefinite period.

Bishop, who enumerated China’s close and deep ties with Australia, also underlined that Beijing has an “increasingly assertive foreign policy”, and Australia emphasises rule-based order and freedom of navigation — two-third of Australia’s merchandise trade crosses the South China Sea.

At their meeting, Modi welcomed Australia joining the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and said it will provide a great boost to the grouping.

Before calling on the Prime Minister, Bishop signed the Framework Agreement to join the ISA, a common platform for cooperation among sun-rich countries. The initiative was launched at the Climate Change conference in Paris in 2015 by Modi and Francois Hollande, then President of France.

She also clarified to Swaraj, during her discussions, that the change in the 457 visa programme will not impact Indian skilled professionals — 457 has been the most common visa for Australian or overseas employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work temporarily in Australia.

On Australia not being included in the Malabar exercise, Bishop said “it was not upsetting” and partnership in military exercises was up to each country. She outlined that there were different combinations and they were working with the Indian government to build on the defence partnership.

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  1. R
    Roja Syed
    Jul 20, 2017 at 7:32 am
    If the war with China is coming, Pakistan will take back the whole Kashmir ! Pakistan is waiting for the good chance. India cannot afford to start 2 wars at the same time.
    Reply
    1. S
      Sankaran Krishnan
      Jul 19, 2017 at 7:06 pm
      It is very simple that if China briefs the Foreign dignitaries in Beijing and the same will be done at Delhi by our MEA Officials to explain the details to the Foreign Leaders whoever visits India and tells and as well confirm our position. The message is very clear from the Australian Minister that to resolve the differences and not to escalate the tension with miscalculation and misjudgment and also agreed that it is a long term dispute which says it all and definitely not as claimed wrongfully by the selfish China which is bluffing the International community !!!
      Reply
      1. B
        Bert Brech
        Jul 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm
        Now when India desperately needs friends and allies, it looks to the USA and Western nations like Australia and Israel. Where are the famous Third World "non-aligned" nations our stupid leaders have been so proud to swan around with abusing the West and the USA? One good thing from this looming disaster of war with China is that India may finally grow up and realise who our real friends are. I hope it is not too late.
        Reply
        1. N
          neel patel
          Jul 20, 2017 at 1:14 am
          india remains what it was ,,, our leaders were right in pursuing the non alignment otherwise we would have become a nation like pakistan ,,, non alignment was the right choice ,,, getting closer to israel or australia would not serve us any better things than what we had ,,, india's position in the world stage has been one of a responsible nation only because of its policies in the cold war era ,,, there are many examples where alignment with western powers have not yielded good results ,,, india and china are big nations both of them realize that a war is not profitable to anyone ,,, china realizes that if it goes to war against india it will definitely open a way for a large scale western interference in this region and it will open new gateways for these countries ,,, all this talk of the war on large scale and imminent threat to existence is just stupid talks ,,,
          Reply
          1. V
            VK Tondon
            Jul 20, 2017 at 4:36 am
            Non Aligned Movement is long virtually dead. If it is not doing any good today to India in face of Sino-Pak threat, India has to blame itself too for that. When Iraq was brazenly and viciously attacked twice by USA, no country came to its rescue---not even India and Egypt, the founding members of NAM. Same thing happened when NATO attacked Yugoslavia in 1999 and dismembered it with impunity. What goes around comes around. I am not confident that even USA will come to India's rescue in case of a major conflict between India and China as USA basically looks to India as a client state to buy its weaponry.
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            Pavan Kumar Rao
            Jul 19, 2017 at 10:50 am
            China, is investing lots of money in different countries. And they want to control other poorer countries by luring corrupt politicians of other countries. Their money will go waste, in a period of 7 to 10 years, until the local population raises and revolts against this cheating by China. Chinese will loose every where, India has to wait and watch patiently. The tables will turn completely against China in next 10 year. They can not bully other countries easily, unlike what they do at home. The trouble for China, has already started in some countries like Srilanka, Africa, Pak etc.
            Reply
            1. K
              Kamal Pasha
              Jul 19, 2017 at 11:36 am
              Pavan Kumar Rao : Why you Indians are worried about China? At the moment the existance of India is at risk.
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              1. D
                Dasari
                Jul 19, 2017 at 3:30 pm
                Pasha Bhai existence of India can never be at risk. We only pity poor Pakistani population as they are enslaved by China through CPEC. Huge loans under CPEC will burden Pakistani Government to an extent of becoming China's province in future. India can very well defend itself against China if situation comes to that. Even now there is scope for China to respect the status quo in disputed border areas just like Pakistan and India maintain similar status quo over Kashmir.
                1. B
                  Bert Brech
                  Jul 19, 2017 at 3:33 pm
                  Actually, unless India is very tough and very lucky, she will not now escape a terrible defeat and possibly wiping out. She is face to face with a frighteningly powerful state and has no firm allies, having scorned the idea of allying with the USA. We are on our own, and the world is getting frightening.
              2. R
                rajan
                Jul 19, 2017 at 9:47 am
                Every country gives a distorted view of its claims on disputed territories. Ordinary citizens form opinion on lopsided views of its government. Having been blinded by this affliction, they start taking sides like Murthy, the blogger is doing ibid. Discretion is always the better part of valor, in International relations. Militarily not even the most powerful of nations are daring their enemies to an unbridled war. They all know, its dangerous and costly to engage in warfare. Yet the government of our country has been whipping up jingoism and nationalism to play to its domestic gallery. The reasons are not far to seek as general elections in 2019 are none too distant. So what, if the nation has to pay for the sins of its government. The party in power has to win elections irrespective of the cost the country might have to bear. Bloggers like Murthy can't discern 56" bravado from bravery of its patriotic soldiers. It's a kakistocracy being run by Sunshine Patriots and Summer Soldiers.
                Reply
                1. S
                  Sajed Syed
                  Jul 19, 2017 at 9:35 am
                  India shall move its nuclear nal across India, ready to fire at Beijing, Shanghai and Chinese enslaved army of the communists. Let it be a war of all wars, once and for all.
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                    Kamal Pasha
                    Jul 19, 2017 at 11:39 am
                    Sajed Syed : You are 100 right and after the war of all wars, South Asia will be very peaceful without India.,
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                    1. N
                      neel patel
                      Jul 20, 2017 at 1:20 am
                      kamal pasha i am pretty sure your country wont allow that ,,, peace for you is terrorism ,,,, if war of all wars does happen the first mistake that pakistan will do is taking part in it ,,, and that will be your last mistake
                  2. P
                    praful
                    Jul 19, 2017 at 9:20 am
                    China has become a world bully, either buying up poor, non functional countries like Pakistan, North Korea and Philippines or intimidating smaller economically weaker countries like Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. The Chinese claim wast territories as their own and give some dubious, pre-historic parchments as evidence of ownership. Now India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are the only countries in Asia who are able to resist China and its bullying tactics.
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      Sajed Syed
                      Jul 19, 2017 at 9:36 am
                      So true, correctly summarised brother.
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                    2. M
                      Murthy
                      Jul 19, 2017 at 8:31 am
                      Informing other world powers of the Indian View on Doklam does not amount to 'inviting them to intervene' as one blogger below thinks. Countries are always spreading their View on many issues. India should inform other powers and also WTO, because India should make China pay a price for her aggressive behaviour. India is NOT dependent on China Trade, not as much as it is made out to be. Nor is China. So, a cooling down in relations is better for India. That will enable India to counter China in the Indian Ocean and in the South China Sea. India should not hesitate to adopt a sterner stand against China. Indians need to understand that it is China that sought War with the USA in Korea, with Vietnam and with India. In South China Sea, China is getting ready for a War with the USA and Japan. Therefore, India should ready her Nuclear Forces too here. Humans will fight and other humans should learn to defend themselves. India should question China's ownership of TIBET.
                      Reply
                      1. S
                        Sajed Syed
                        Jul 19, 2017 at 9:38 am
                        Not only Tibet illegal occupation but also cution of Muslim Xinjiang territory of Uyghurs who rightfully do not want to live under Atheist Communists
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                          Dasari
                          Jul 19, 2017 at 3:34 pm
                          You are very right Sajed. Inhuman treatment being meted out to Muslims in Xinjiang is a grave matter as they are not allowed to wear traditional cap and are not even allowed to pray in mosques except with permission by Chinese Army. Tibetians also face harrassment by Chinese Army. Why Pakistan does not raise such issues with China?! Probably it cannot as they are under obligation with CPEC project!!
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