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'Ball is in India's court': China says Doklam situation 'grave', rules out compromise

4 July, 2017 3:59 PM
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China's ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui said "the ball is in India's court" and it was for the Indian government to decide what options could be on the table to resolve the standoff. China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Doklam area near the Bhutan trijunction for past 19 days.

NEW DELHI: China on Tuesday ruled out a compromise in the military standoff with India in the Sikkim section, and put the onus on New Delhi to resolve the "grave" situation.

In unusually blunt remarks, China's ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui said "the ball is in India's court" and it was for the Indian government to decide what options could be on the table to resolve the standoff.

Asked about remarks by official Chinese media and think-tanks that the conflict can lead to a "war"+ if not handled properly, the ambassador said in an interview to PTI: "There has been talk about this option, that option. It is up to your government policy (whether to exercise military option)."

The Chinese government is very clear that it wants peaceful resolution at current state of the situation for which withdrawal of Indian troops from the area is a "pre-condition", he asserted.

"The first priority is that the Indian troops unconditionally pull back to the Indian side of the boundary. That is the precondition for any meaningful dialogue between China and India," he said.

China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Doklam area+ near the Bhutan trijunction for past 19 days 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 Doklam, 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.

"The situation is grave and made me deeply worried. It is the first time that Indian troops have crossed the mutually recognised boundary+ and trespassed into China's territory, triggering a close range face off between Chinese and Indian border troops. Now 19 days have passed, but the situation still has not eased," Luo said.

He also asserted that "it is critical that India shall withdraw its troops immediately to minimise the negative impact. It serves the interests of the two sides."

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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