New Delhi/Beijing, Aug 3: Expressing concern at Chinese action in Doklam, India on Thursday she will continue to engage with China diplomatically to resolve the border standoff and that war is not a solution, even as Beijing said India should withdraw its forces from Doklam if it truly “cherishes peace”, accusing New Delhi of building roads, stocking supplies and deploying military along the border in the Sikkim sector.
“Our stand is that we maintain restraint in language and keep patience and engage in diplomacy. No solution will be gained out of war because even after war, talks are required. A solution cannot be derived out of war,” said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in a combative speech in Rajya Sabha, dismissing opposition criticism during a foreign policy debate on the government’s handling of diplomatic relations, especially with neighbours.
India, she said, always believes that peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas is an important prerequisite for smooth development of our bilateral relations. “Times are changing and it is economic power and not strategic power that decides strength of a nation...If there is a dialogue there will be a solution,” she added.
“We will continue to engage with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels to find a mutually acceptable solution on the basis of the Astana consensus between our leaders. I note the sense of the House is supportive,” the Minister said, recalling that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had agreed during their recent meeting in the Kazakhstan capital that differences should not be allowed to be converted into disputes.
Swaraj pointed out that Chinese investment in India has touched $160 billion, and “we are talking of bilateral relations with China and not only Doklam”. She said that in India’s growing economic capabilities, “there is a big investment from China”.
Meanwhile, China on Thursday continuing its hardline, said India’s demand that Beijing pull back its troops from Doklam “is unreasonable and shows its lack of sincerity” to resolve the standoff. It accused India of using its troops to build roads, hoard supplies and deploy a large number of armed forces on the Indian side of the boundary.
“This is by no means for peace,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, adding, “The Indian side is always keeping ‘peace’ on the tip of its tongue. But we should not only listen to its words but also pay heed to its deeds.”
“If the Indian side truly cherishes peace, what it should do is to immediately pull back the trespassing border troops to the Indian side of the boundary,” he further said.
Geng said there were 48 Indian troops in Doklam until Wednesday. He said despite being intimated twice about road construction - on May 18 and June 8 - India did not respond. (Inputs from IANS)