Diplomatic channels between India, China have never broken; Doval will visit Beijing next week: MEA on border dispute

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • The MEA spokesman didn’t comment on China’s precondition for talks
  • China said last week that India withdrawing its forces from Doklam is the only way to end the border dispute

NEW DELHI: Without commenting on China’s reported precondition for talks, India on Thursday said that diplomatic channels between the two countries “are not impeded” and have “never broken”.

In that spirit, India also said that national security advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval will indeed attend a BRICS meeting of NSAs scheduled for next week in China.

When asked about Beijing’s comment that India withdrawing its forces from Doklam is the only way to end the border dispute, external affairs ministry (MEA) spokesman Gopal Baglay was noncommittal.

“I’ve seen that statement about the precondition. What I can say is that diplomatic channels are not impeded. It is important to note that aspect,” said Baglay.

On whether Doval’s visit would act as one of those diplomatic channels, Baglay said that at this point he isn’t aware of any one-on-one meetings planned to discuss theborder dispute.

“I can confirm that the NSA will visit on the 27th and 28th and this is in the context of the meeting of NSAs of the BRICS countries. If there are any other engagements we will let you know,” the MEA spokesman said.

In marked contrast with China’s aggressive public posturing on the standoff+ , Baglay, on more than one occasion, underscored the importance of talks and diplomacy to solve the crisis that arose last month after Chinese troops purposely breached the border in Doklam, which is in the Sikkim sector.
“Differences between India and China should never become a dispute…We’ve said diplomatic channels are available and have been available. To the best of my understanding they have never stopped,” said Baglay in response to a question about whether India will approach any international bodies like the UN to intervene in the dispute.

Baglay also refused to be drawn into commenting on how many times the two countries have spoken since June 16 and on who may have initiated such communication.

“In such sensitive matters who has made the offer and who reacted or not, it’s best left to diplomats to conduct what they are good at,” Baglay said, once again stressing on “diplomacy”

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