China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said that India should “conscientiously withdraw” its troops from the disputed Dokalam area in the Sikkim sector for a “simple” solution to the over a month-long border standoff.
Putting the onus on India to end the border stalemate, Wang, who is the first top Chinese leader to have commented so far on the Doklam impasse, also claimed that India “admitted” to entering Chinese territory.
Chinese and Indian soldiers have been locked in a face-off in Dokalam area in the southernmost part of Tibet in an area also claimed by Indian ally Bhutan for over a month after Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the disputed area.
China claimed it was constructing the road within its territory, and has been demanding immediate pull-out of the Indian troops.
But External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told Parliament last Thursday that both sides should first pull back their troops for any talks to take place, favouring a peaceful resolution of the border standoff.
“The rights and wrongs are very clear and even senior Indian officials have openly stated that Chinese troops did not enter into the Indian territory,” Wang said yesterday in Bangkok, commenting for the first time over the standoff between the troops from the two countries.
“In other words, the Indian side admitted to entering the Chinese territory. The solution to this problem is very simple: conscientiously withdraw,” he said in a brief quote in Chinese posted on China’s Foreign Ministry’s website today.
Swaraj had also said that the “unilateral” Chinese action to change the status quo near the Bhutan trijunction poses a challenge to India’s security.
She said that India was not “unreasonable” on the Dokalam issue and that all nations were with it.
The Dokalam issue is expected to be discussed during the visit of Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to Beijing for a meeting of the NSAs of BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – on July 27-28.
Yesterday, the Chinese Defence Ministry said its military will safeguard China’s security interests at “any cost” and warned India not to harbour any unrealistic illusions.