Centre And Opposition United On Doklam Border Standoff


The government on Friday told opposition leaders that China is constructing roads near the worldwide border hampering the country's strategic interests and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will put forward New Delhi's position before his Chinese counterparts later this month, officials said. Foreign secretary S Jaishankar told the leaders that China was seeking to alter the status quo in Doka La at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan and the same have strategic effect for India.

"We said that on issues of national security and integrity of the country, we are with the government", Trinamool leader Derek O'Brien said.

While the meeting was largely around the Chinese issue, the opposition also had some questions relating to Jammu and Kashmir.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay said during the meeting they underlined the importance of India and China to remain engaged through diplomacy.

Leaders of all prominent opposition parties, including the Congress, attended the meeting where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj briefed the leaders on the issues.

Earlier in the day, Swaraj, Rajnath, Jaitley and Doval met ahead of the discussion with the Opposition parties, agency reports said. "We didn't get answers we were looking for", said TMC leader Derek O Brien.

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Sitaram Yechury, CPI (M): Govt said that they'll tackle the situation through dialogues.

But AIADMK parliamentarian A Navaneethakrishnan said they are satisfied with the government's response.

The political leaders were given a detailed presentation on China by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, while Home Secretary designate Rajiv Gauba briefed them on the Kashmir situation and the terror strike at Amarnath.

While it was understood to have been shared in the meeting that the Indian army's presence would continue in the area which is under Chinese control, near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) for some more time, the soldiers have been clearly told not to keep their guns upwards in a pointed manner. Singh will also inform the leaders about the visit of two Union Ministers To the valley as well as the instruction given to the forces to intensify anti-militant operations following the killing of seven Amarnath pilgrims. Gandhi had questioned why Modi had not yet spoken up on the face-off. The road would have altered the status quo in India-Bhutan-China tri-junction boundary point.

He had said Modi's policies have created space for terrorists in Kashmir which is a "grave strategic blow" to India.