Sikkim standoff: Sushma Swaraj to convene all-party meet tomorrow to discuss border situation
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has called an all-party meeting in New Delhi tomorrow over the month-long border face-off between India and China at the Sikkim border. The meeting has been called to apprise the opposition parties about the events at the border and the steps taken by the government so far.
Swaraj has invited leaders of the Congress and other opposition parties to attend the meeting, which is likely to be held at the residence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh tomorrow. The decision to convene the meeting tomorrow was taken to ensure that the sensitive issue is discussed before the Monsoon Session of the Parliament begins next week.
China has warned that it will not accept any offer for dialogue till India withdraws its soldiers from what it claims as its territory in Doklam. On the other hand, India has stressed that the 1890 Sikkim-Tibet Treaty was only “the basis of alignment” and that the boundary has not been delineated or demarcated.
Foreign secretary S Jaishankar made a peace overture on Tuesday saying that India and China could resolve the border issues over Doklam as they had handled similar issues in the past.
However, Beijing rebuffed the move saying the situation was “entirely different” this time., reiterating its stand that withdrawal of troops from Doklam was a precondition to de-escalate tensions.
“China has pointed out many times that the illegal trespass into China's territory across a mutually recognized borderline is different in nature to frictions that happened in undefined sections of the boundary. This is totally different from the undefined boundary in eastern, middle and western sectors,” said China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.
In an attempt to provoke India, China offered to mediate in the Kashmir issue, saying that it was willing to play a “constructive role” in improving relations between India and Pakistan, especially after the increased hostility along the LoC, saying the situation in the Valley has attracted "international" attention.
To this, India maintained that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral matter with Pakistan, and that there is no scope for a third party mediation.
The rare Chinese comments on the Kashmir issue came two days after a Chinese analyst wrote in the state-run Global Times that a "third country's" Army could enter Kashmir at Pakistan's request, using the "logic" the Indian Army used to stop the Chinese military from constructing the road in Doklam area.
China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Doklam area near the Bhutan tri-junction for the past one month 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 Doklam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.