India to pursue diplomatic channels with China

IMG_5940India on Thursday said it would continue to use “diplomatic channels” with China to resolve the face-off between soldiers from the two nations in western Bhutan.

As the face-off continued for the 26th day, Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Gopal Baglay said, “We have diplomatic channels available and we will continue to use those channels.”

Baglay noted that the MEA had issued a press release on June 30, articulating its views on the way to resolve the face-off. New Delhi’s position has not changed, he said on Thursday, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, had a conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G20 summit at Hamburg and they had covered “a range of issues”.
“I can certainly say that the approach that we had underlined and put out at the end of the last month continues,” Baglay said.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is likely to be in Beijing on July 27 and 28 to attend a meeting with his counterparts from other BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations.

The meeting will be hosted by China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechhi. If the face-off in Doklam Plateau is not resolved by then, Doval and Yang, who are also special representatives of India and China for negotiations on the disputed Sino-India boundary, are likely to have a bilateral meeting to find a way out, a source said.

New Delhi and Beijing also have a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs to deal with such face-offs along the disputed boundary.

Joint Secretary (East Asia) Pradeep Rawat currently represents India in the mechanism, while Director-General (Boundary and Ocean Affairs) Ouyang Yujing is his Chinese counterpart. Rawat and Ouyang have been in regular contact to resolve the face-off, which began on June 18.