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Doklam standoff: Pull back troops with ‘no strings attached’, says China to India

China on Wednesday said it has conveyed its firm stand to India that it must take “concrete actions” by immediately pulling back troops from Doklam in the Sikkim section with “no strings attached” to resolve the current standoff.

Providing the details of the July 28 meeting between National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and State Councillor Yang Jiechi for the first time, Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the two officials exchanged views on BRICS cooperation, bilateral relations and relevant major problems.

Doval was in Beijing last month to attend the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa — NSAs meeting.

Doval and Yang are also the Special Representatives of the boundary talks between the two nations.

Yang held a bilateral meeting with Doval “at his request and in accordance with the practice”, the ministry said in a written reply to a question about the discussions relating to the standoff at Doklam which began when China started constructing a road in the area.

“Yang Jiechi expressed China’s stern positions and explicit requirements on the trespass of Indian border troops into China’s territory at the Sikkim section of China-India boundary,” it said, indicating that there was no breakthrough during the talks between Doval and Yang.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said during his talks with Doval, Yang also “urged India to respect China’s territorial sovereignty, the international law and the basic rules governing international relations and immediately pull back the trespassing India border troops to the Indian side of the boundary with no strings attached and resolve the current incident with concrete actions.”

The fact sheet said the standoff occurred in an area where there is a clear and delimited boundary.

“This makes it fundamentally different from past frictions between the border troops of the two sides in areas with undelimited boundary. The Indian border troops’ crossing of the already delimited boundary is a very serious incident as it violates China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it said.

The fact sheet said that no such attempt would be tolerated by any sovereign state.

“The fact of the matter is that it is India which has attempted time and again to change the status quo of the China-India boundary in the Sikkim Sector, which poses a grave security threat to China,” it said.

“The China-Bhutan boundary issue is one between China and Bhutan. It has nothing to do with India. As a third party, India has no right to interfere in or impede the boundary talks between China and Bhutan, still less the right to make territorial claims on Bhutan’s behalf,” the fact sheet added.

“No country should ever underestimate the resolve of the Chinese government and people to defend China’s territorial sovereignty. China will take all necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate and lawful rights and interests,” it warned.

“The incident took place on the Chinese side of the delimited boundary. India should immediately and unconditionally withdraw its trespassing border troops back to the Indian side of the boundary. This is a prerequisite and basis for resolving the incident,” it added.

The fact sheet said China values the growth of good- neighbourly and friendly relations with India and is committed to maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border area between the two countries.

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