While speaking to a group of MPs on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary, S Jaishankar, said that China’s approach to the standoff at Sikkim is ‘unusually aggressive’. The group included senior opposition leaders including Congress Vice President, Rahul Gandhi.
Jaishankar assured a parliamentary committee on External Affairs, which has about 20 members from various parties, that India is resorting to diplomatic channels to defuse the border issue. He added that there is no question of India being pushed into armed action, acknowledging that China’s rhetoric on the border dispute is alarmist.
The standoff between Indian and Chinese armies have continued for a month over the construction of a road by China near the tri junction. India has expressed concern over the road construction near the region, fearing it may allow Chinese troops to cut India’s access to its northeastern states.
India has conveyed to China that the road construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India. According to the Chinese interpretation of events, Indian soldiers crossed into China’s Donglang region early in June and obstructed work on a road on the plateau it calls Donglang.
On the other hand, Bhutan says the land, which it calls Doklam, belongs to its kingdom and not to China, a claim India agrees with. India also says it had warned China that the road was a serious security concern – it gives Beijing access to the so-called Chicken’s Neck, a thin strip of land that links India with its seven north eastern states.
A meeting was called by the government to brief opposition parties on the issue last week. The government had told opposition leaders that China is constructing roads near the international border, hampering the country’s strategic interests. It said National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, would put forward India’s position before his Chinese counterparts later this month.