There have been no new developments at the face-off site with China in Doklam and its vicinity and status quo prevails in the area, VK Singh, minister of state in the External Affairs Ministry said today.
In August last year, India and China decided to end their 73-day standoff between their troops at Doklam. The standoff had strained ties considerably between the two countries.
“Since the disengagement of Indian and Chinese border personnel in the Doklam area on August 28, 2017, there have been no developments at the face-off site and its vicinity. The status quo prevails,” Singh said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.
On Tuesday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said Indian and Chinese troops have “redeployed” themselves away from the face-off site in Doklam, and China has undertaken construction of helipads, sentry posts and trenches for its army personnel there.
“Post disengagement from the face-off in 2017, troops of both sides have redeployed themselves away from their respective positions at the face-off site. The strength of both sides have been reduced,” she had said, replying to a question on the issue in the Rajya Sabha.
“In order to maintain these troops during the winter, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has undertaken construction of some infrastructure, including sentry posts, trenches and helipads,” she had said, replying to a question on whether satellite images have revealed that China has constructed seven helipads in Doklam, besides deploying tanks and missiles in the area.
Today, Singh said India and China have appointed a Special Representative (SR) each to explore the framework for border settlement.
Twenty meetings of the SRs have taken place so far and the two sides are “committed to seeking a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the boundary question through dialogue and peaceful negotiations”.
The two sides are also on the same page over having peace and tranquillity in border areas for smooth development of India-China ties, he noted.
Singh added that the government was aware of China’s ambition of becoming a maritime power, and as a part of which Beijing is developing support bases, ports and other infrastructure facilities in the littoral countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), including in the vicinity of indian martin borders.
He asserted that the government keeps a constant watch on developments having a bearing on India’s security and takes necessary measures to safeguard it.
“India and China have, on several occasions, reiterated that, as large neighbours following independent foreign policies, the relationships pursued by India and China with other countries must not become a source of concern for each other,” Singh said.
Both countries have agreed to display mutual respect and sensitivity to each other’s concern and aspirations, he said.