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Sushma Swaraj Calls China Out on Border Row, Says It Tried to Change Status Quo

Swaraj made it clear that it was only upon request from the Bhutan government that the Indian Army, which has an advisory role in Bhutan’s security affairs, decided to move about 150-200 men to the flashpoint in the Doklam Plateau.

Zakka Jacob | CNN-News18

Updated:July 20, 2017, 4:16 PM IST
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Sushma Swaraj Calls China Out on Border Row, Says It Tried to Change Status Quo
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj speaking in Rajya Sabha ( TV grab)
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New Delhi: For the first time since the India-China faceoff started in Doklam on June 16, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has spoken on the issue in Parliament.

The minister has clarified that “China tried to unilaterally change the status quo at the tri-junction between India, Bhutan and China” prompting the Indian troops to get involved.

Swaraj made it clear that it was only upon request from the Bhutan government that the Indian Army, which has an advisory role in Bhutan’s security affairs, decided to move about 150-200 men to the flashpoint in the Doklam Plateau.

She had to respond in Parliament because a supplementary question asked by the Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agarwal had gone unanswered.

Swaraj also cited the 2012 agreement between India and China which recognizes the tri-junction as disputed territory but any resolution will be in consultation with all three parties concerned.

Meanwhile, China on Thursday reiterated that it won’t talk to India until New Delhi withdraws troops from Doklam. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said this while responding to Swaraj’s comments.

The ‘unilateral’ decision by China which changed the status quo was the call to build a road all the way up to Mount Gipmochi.

India recognises the tri-junction point as Batang La which is further east. Allowing the Chinese to build a concrete road all the way up to Mount Gipmochi would seriously impede India’s security interests.

Once the road is complete, it would give Chinese PLA troops vantage over the ‘chicken’s neck’, the narrow sliver of land that connects northeast India to the rest of the country.

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in this standoff for over a month.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a brief ‘4 to 5 minute’ meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit last week which failed to resolve the faceoff.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will travel to Beijing next week for a BRICS security conference. If he gets an opportunity for a stand-alone meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechion on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting, it may lead to a resolution.

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