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India stresses on peace, tranquility along China border

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) As China struck a tough posture again on the Doklam stand off, India on Wednesday refused to be drawn into giving counter arguments, and merely said that it reaffirms its June 30 statement and called for peace and tranquility along the border.

“India’s position on and related facts have been articulated in our press statement of June 30, 2017,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in response to a question.

“India considers peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas as an important prerequisite for smooth development of our bilateral relations with China,” he said.

On Wednesday, China claimed that it had informed India that it would be constructing a road in Doklam area in Sikkim sector and again asked New Delhi to withdraw its troops immediately from the area.

Beijing sought to firm up its claim over the disputed region by citing a document of 2006, according to which India and China agreed on the boundary alignment in the Sikkim sector where their armies are now locked in a stand-off.

In a 15-page document, the Chinese Foreign Ministry also said the number of Indian troops in Doklam since the beginning of the crisis in mid-June had fallen from 270 to 40 by the end of July. Indian officials have denied any pullout has taken place.

China also said India should not make territorial claims on Bhutan’s behalf in the Doklam standoff even as it maintained that it valued good neighbourly and friendly relations with New Delhi and to keep peace on the border.

China also claimed that it had informed India that it would be constructing a road in that area.

Beijing, which earlier said it won’t talk to New Delhi until the Indian troops leave, also hinted that the two sides were in touch to resolve the dragging dispute on the Sikkim section of the border.

New Delhi sees the road as a threat to the nation’s security as it is very close to the arterial Siliguri corridor, which connects northeastern India with the rest of the country.

In its June 30 statement, India said that on June 16, a PLA construction party entered the Doklam area and attempted to construct a road, which was protested by the Bhutan government.

In coordination with the Bhutan government, Indian personnel, who were present at general area Doka La, approached the Chinese construction party and urged them to desist from changing the status quo.

It said the matter has been under discussion between India and China at the diplomatic level in the Foreign Ministries since then.

The June 30 statement said that India is deeply concerned at the Chinese actions in Doklam and has conveyed to the Chinese Government that such construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India.

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