By Gaurav Sharma
Beijing, July 25 (IANS) China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday reacted to the raging border crisis for the first time, holding India responsible for the current stand-off and asking it to withdraw troops.
Wang, who so far is the senior most Chinese government official to speak on the dispute, said the “solution” to the crisis was “simple” – that India withdraw its troops from Doklam, which Beijing calls Chinese territory.
“The rights and wrongs are very clear, and even senior Indian officials have openly stated that Chinese troops did not enter into the Indian boundary. So India has admitted it crossed into the Chinese territory,” said Wang.
“The solution is very simple. India must conscientiously pull back its troops,” said a statement in Chinese quoting Wang.
His remarks come two days ahead of the BRICS security summit meet where India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval will be present.
It is not known if Doval will hold a bilateral meeting with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi on the sidelines of the two-day BRICS NSAs meet here.
On Monday, China said host countries in the past arranged bilateral meets on the sidelines of the summit.
China says it will not talk on the Doklam issue unless India withdraws troops from the region.
The stand-off between India and China at Doklam in Sikkim section has entered its second month, and is another addition to the list of contentious issues between the two sides, who have had a history of mutual suspicion since they fought a war in 1962.
Doklam, at the tri-junction of India, Bhutan, and China, is of high strategic importance to all three.
It is disputed between Bhutan and China. India calls Doklam Bhutanese territory and perceives any Chinese presence in the area as a threat to its security.
The dispute began over a road that the Chinese army was building in Doklam.
Indian troops halted the road construction, which led to a stand-off with the Chinese Army.
India has accused China of trying to change the status of the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction, and ruled out unilateral withdrawal of Indian troops.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj last week said that China’s attempt to build a road through Bhutan posed a security challenge to India.
(Gaurav Sharma is the Beijing-based correspondent of IANS. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)
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