NEW DELHI/BEIJING/PORT BLAIR:India and China on Monday continued showcasing their different approaches to the two-month-long standoff at Dokalam in the Sikkim arc of the Sino-Indian border: While New Delhi’s approach, articulated by Union home minister Rajnath Singh signaled India’s openness to dialogue while asserting resolve to stand its ground, China’s response, vocalised by its Foreign Ministry spokesperson, continued to be tetchy.
Rajnath Singh’s remarks came at an event organised by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the force guarding the Dokalam plateau, where Indian forces blocked Chinese engineers attempting to build a road on territory that is claimed by Bhutan. The standoff would be resolved soon, the minister said, and hoped Beijing would make a positive move in that direction.
The statement comes a week after another incident along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh where Indian and Chinese troops exchanged blows and pelted stones at each other.
“There is a deadlock going on at Dokalam between India and China,” the minister said. “I believe there will be a solution soon. I hope China will undertake a positive initiative (to resolve the standoff).”
Rajnath added, “We have never wanted to expand our borders... but I can say that our security forces and defence forces possess all the might to protect our borders. There is no world power that can threaten India.”
The ongoing eyeball-to-eyeball between India and China is the longest in three decades and has been marked by unusually hot rhetoric from Beijing’s state-run media as well as statements from its Foreign Ministry.While China is adamant on unconditional and unilateral withdrawal by Indian troops, New Delhi insists on simultaneous removal of soldiers from the area.
Rajnath Singh’s statement assumes importance as the government does not want political rhetoric to fuel tensions between the two Asian giants, senior Home Ministry officials said.
However, official signals from Beijing showed no signs that the country is now reorienting itself to a face-saving aspect. Its Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Monday said it was “violent action” by Indian soldiers against a Chinese border patrol which led to scuffling and stone pelting between troopers of the two countries at Pangong Lake in Ladakh on August 15.
This is much the same narrative used by Beijing to explain the standoff at Dokalam.
Hua claimed the Pangong incident occurred when Chinese border troops were conducting a regular patrol on the Chinese side of the LAC around the lake. “During this process, the Indian side took some violent action and injured the Chinese border personnel,” she claimed. “China is extremely dissatisfied with this” and lodged solemn representations with India, Hua said.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that the incident in Ladakh took place. Sources said some of the Chinese soldiers carried iron rods and stones, and troops on both sides suffered minor injuries in the melee.Footage, purportedly of the scuffle, taken on a mobile phone, posted by a retired army officer, showed a stone-throwing and shoving match by soldiers on both sides.
Coast Guard finds Chinese buoy off Andamans
A team of Coast Guard and Andamans Police Marine Force (PMF) personnel has located a Chinese data buoy at the remote Kamorta Island of Nicobar district. The Coast Guard believes the buoy had drifted to the Kamorta Island. According to INCOIS (Indian National Centre for Oceanic Information), Hyderabad, the data buoy was deployed near the equator and has drifted towards the Andaman & Nicobar Islands after breaking free of its moorings. [READ HERE]
“On receipt of information regarding the adrift buoy, the Coast Guard undertook a search operations along with the PMF for locating the buoy. The yellow data buoy was located by a search party off the Dring Harbour on the northwestern side of Kamorta Island,” commandant Dalip Singh, public relations officer of Andaman and Nicobar Command, said Monday. “The Coast Guard is coordinating with NIOT, Chennai, to ascertain details of the buoy which is said to be of Chinese origin,” Singh said.
Denying possibility of any foul play, the Coast Guard commandant added that once the buoy is recovered, the INCOIS has to decide what it would do with it.