Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Tuesday expressed confidence in India’s handling of the situation in Doklam plateau with China saying it has handled such border issues in the past. Speaking at a lecture organised by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the Indian High Commission, Jaishankar was quoted by PTI as saying: “Having handled such border issues in past, I see no reason that we will not be able to handle this time.”
Jaishankar also highlighted the importance of India-China relations within ASEAN as he sought to play up the two countries’ bilateral relationship for broader regional engagement. “In this changing landscape, few would dispute that evolving India-China relationship has a direct implication for ASEAN, globally. It is not only India and China that have stakes in each other, world and especially the ASEAN has vested interest in this matter. In their relationship, India and China must not allow differences to become disputes,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. Also Read: Sikkim standoff: Congress denies Rahul Gandhi meeting with Chinese envoy, then confirms it
He also said Indo-China relations are a factor of stability especially at a time of global uncertainty. But Jaishankar also struck a cautionary note on China’s instrumental rise: “China’s dramatic rise has repercussions that are still being evaluated, perhaps by China itself.”
Meanwhile, as the month-long impasse between India and China over Doklam continues, China had alleged earlier last week that India is including the tri-junction with Bhutan in Sikkim standoff for ‘ulterior motives’, while adding that adding that New Delhi’s acceptance of the 1890 Sino-British treaty on the boundaries in the area should not change with the passage of time.
On Monday, in response of MEA’s tweet saying the two leaders of India and China had a conversation on a ‘range of issues’, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said: “As for the range of questions… I think we are most concerned about the illegal cross-border problems by Indian troops. The troops should withdraw immediately to the Indian side of the Sino-Indian border… This is the prerequisite and basis for any meaningful dialogue between the parties.”
China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Dokalam area near the Bhutan tri-junction for over three weeks after a Chinese Army’s construction party attempted to build a road. Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region. Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.