NEW DELHI: Even as China continues to be aggressive and demands the unilateral withdrawal of Indian forces from the Dokalam plateau as a pre-condition to resolve the standoff in Sikkim, New Delhi Friday said it will continue to engage with Beijing to find a mutually acceptable solution to the standoff, while asserting that peace and tranquility on the border is an important pre-requisite for smooth bilateral ties.
In his maiden weekly briefing, newly appointed Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “We will continue to engage with China to find a mutually acceptable solution. Peace and tranquility in the border areas is an important pre-requisite for smooth development of bilateral relationship.”
Asked about the incident between Chinese troops and Indian border guards in Ladakh on August 15, in which both sides resorted to stone pelting injuring six ITBP jawans, Raveesh Kumar said, “Such incidents are not in the interest of either side.”
Indian and Chinese soldiers have been engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation since June 16 after Indian troops objected to road construction by Chinese soldiers in the strategically important Dokalam plateau close to the Sikkim border. Since then efforts made to resolve the issue have not yielded anything despite two border personnel meetings (BPMs) between Indian border guards and Chinese troops.
One BPM had taken place at Chushul on August 16 and another one at Nathu La a week before.
Raveesh Kumar said, “I am not an astrologer, so cannot predict,” when asked by when the Dokalam standoff will be resolved.
In response to question on whether China had shared hydrological data with India as floods have severely hit Assam and Bihar, the spokesperson said no such data was received from Beijing regarding the Brahmaputra this year, while denying any links with the Dokalam standoff. India and China have an expert-level mechanism, established in 2006, under which both countries share hydrological data. There are two MoUs under which China is expected to share hydrological data on rivers Satluj and Brahmaputra with India during the flood season of May 15 to June 15.
In another development, India welcomed the US decision to designate terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen as a foreign terrorist organisation and said it reflected the joint commitment of the two countries to firmly deal with terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.