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Sushma Swaraj Says Not an Iota of Change in Doklam After Reports of Increased Chinese Troop Movement

Sushma Swaraj assured there has not been even an iota of change at the plateau where Indian and Chinese troops had been locked in a 73-day standoff last year.

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Updated:August 1, 2018, 9:44 PM IST
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Sushma Swaraj Says Not an Iota of Change in Doklam After Reports of Increased Chinese Troop Movement
File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
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New Delhi: The India-China face-off in Doklam was resolved through "diplomatic maturity without losing any ground" and status quo has been maintained, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday.

Swaraj assured that there has not been even an iota of change at the plateau where Indian and Chinese troops had been locked in a 73-day standoff last year.

Her assurance came a week after reports of increased activity by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the Doklam region. A top US official had also warned that China has quietly resumed its activities in the area and neither Bhutan nor India has sought to dissuade it.

The Indian Army had also downplayed the reports, saying that the strength at Chinese posts had doubled due to changeover of troops and there was no change of situation on the ground.

Swaraj, in her statement in Parliament, maintained that the status quo has been maintained at Doklam.

She told the Lok Sabha that the main objective of the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan was to ensure mutual comfort, mutual understanding and mutual trust between the two leaders and all the three objectives have been achieved.

Swaraj said as a follow-up to the Wuhan summit, the Chinese defence minister is coming to enhance military cooperation while the foreign minister will arrive later this year as part of efforts to enhance people-to-people contact.

The external affairs minister also said after the Wuhan summit, both the leaders met on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg and the SCO summit. As a result of the understanding developed in Wuhan, later meetings also covered the issue of Doklam.

"First things that had happened was that both the leaders would give order to respective military that if there is any incident, any misunderstanding at the ground level, then it should be resolved at that level only and avoid dispute," she said.

The first informal summit between Modi and Jinping was held at the Chinese city of Wuhan on April 27-28.

Swaraj’s assurances, however, did not impress the Congress. The party said that the statement was proof of the Narendra Modi-led government's uncertain foreign policy and "continuous flip flops in Chinese misadventure in Doklam which is harming India's interests."

Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said that the external affairs minister did not touch upon the military buildup including the creation of a full-fledged Chinese military complex at Doklam right up to 10m from the Indian Army post.

Surjewala said the government, despite three bilateral meets between Modi and Jinping, had failed to give any conclusive reaction to the standoff.

The Congress spokesperson also slammed Modi government's silence on the recent meeting between Chinese vice foreign Minister and Bhutanese government.

"Nothing could have been detrimental to our foreign policy, than these discussions on tri junction. Yet, Modi government remained mum," Surjewala said.

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| Edited by: Naqshib Nisar
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