‘Open To Talks But Won’t Quit Doklam’

India will remain “firm and resolute” on the ground or at the military level to thwart any attempt by China to “bully” Bhutan , while being “reasonable” at the politico-diplomatic level to resolve the ongoing troop stand-off with the People’s Liberation Army in the Doklam area in Bhutanese territory, say sources.

India has steadily established an “enhanced border management posture” near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction under this overall strategy, with additional soldiers being deployed after proper acclimatisation for any contingency in the region located at an altitude over 11,000-feet.

Concurrently, diplomatic channels are being kept open despite the almost daily dose of belligerent rhetoric from China and its state-controlled media. “Beijing should restore the status quo, which it unilaterally broke by trying to construct the motorable road in the Doklam area (physically blocked by Indian troops in mid-June),” said a source.

India wants China to adhere to the 2012 agreement between their two special representatives that the tri-junction boundary points will be finalised in consultation with Bhutan. “India came to Bhutan’s aid after Chinese troops entered Bhutanese territory (Doklam) and pushed aside its soldiers at gun-point,” he added.

Two days before national security advisor Ajit Doval leaves for Beijing for a BRICS meeting, which could lay the ground for simultaneous withdrawal of the rival troops from the face-off site, Army vice-chief Lt-General Sarath Chand on Tuesday said China would continue to remain a threat for India in the future. “On the North, we have China which has a large landmass, huge resources and a large standing Army… Despite having the Himalayas between us, China is bound to be a threat for us in years ahead,” said Lt-Gen Chand, addressing a seminar here.

Pointing at the collusion between China and Pakistan, the senior officer said the latter chose to continuously needle India through low-intensity warfare rather than engage in a full-fledged war. “This suits its all-weather friend China,” he said, while also slamming Pakistan for “stooping low” and deliberately targeting schools in cross-border shelling.