Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre on Wednesday said that the border standoff between Indian and Chinese armies at the Sikkim sector can be resolved diplomatically and Chinese soldiers should leave the Bhutanese territory to reduce tension in the area.
“I think the issue can be resolved at the diplomatic level. The Chinese troops should stay where they were earlier. China is approaching towards Bhutanese territory. We want them not to come forward,” Bhamre said.
“This is our security concern and this is our stand. Bhutan’s King had yesterday given a statement that Chinese (troops) are entering into its territory. This tension can be resolved at the diplomatic level. Across the table we can solve all the problems,” he further added.
The minister’s remarks came a day China demanded that India “correct its mistakes” by pulling back its troops immediately and accused the latter of trampling on the principles of the Panchsheel pact.
China had ruled out a compromise in the military standoff with India and put the onus on New Delhi to resolve the “grave” situation, Chinese envoy to India Luo Zhaohui said on Tuesday.
For the past 19 days, China and India have been betrothed in a standoff in the Dokalam area near the Bhutan trijunction. The standoff began after a Chinese army’s construction party came to build a road.
Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region. China and Bhutan are engaged in talks over the resolution of the area. Bhutan, however, has no diplomatic ties with China and it is supported militarily and diplomatically by India.
On the standoff, the Ministry of External Affairs had said India was “deeply concerned at the recent Chinese actions and has conveyed to the Chinese government that such construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India”.
With PTI inputs.