Atmosphere not right for Xi-Modi meet, says Beijing
The cold vibes between the Indian army and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Sikkim shot down prospects of a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg.
The presence of two leaders in Germany at a time when the border tension had escalated into war mongering by the media on either side provided an opportunity to find an amicable settlement. But China on Thursday cited that the “atmosphere” was “not right” for a bilateral meeting between president Xi and PM Modi.
China’s refusal to go into a bilateral heads of state meeting is reflective of its tough position on the stand-off. The Chinese envoy in New Delhi last week had termed the situation as grave and Beijing has made it clear that any dialogue will be followed only if Indian troops withdraw from Doklam plateau. Indian troops have positioned themselves in the Dokalam plateau to prevent Chinese soldiers from constructing a road. India backs Bhutan’s claim on Dokalam, a fact contested by China citing its 1890 agreement with Britain to claim that Gyemochen is the boundary. It also claims that the Bhutanese nomads would even pay grazing tax to the Chinese authorities for entering Dokalam.
India on Thursday asked China to maintain status quo to diffuse tension. “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. This is our security concern and this is our stand,” said Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre.
Meanwhile Deputy PM and Foreign Minister of Vietnam Pham Binh Minh on Thursday concluded his four-day visit to India claiming that the two sides discussed “concrete and feasible” steps to protect their interests while seeking to bolster their strategic bilateral ties. Minh’s visit comes also in the midst of growing maritime aggression of China in the South China Sea.
Gautam Datt