India committed to keeping its citizens, borders safe: MEA

| Updated: Aug 04, 2017 23:10 IST

New Delhi [India], August 4 (ANI): Amid the border standoff with China, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay on Friday said that the Indian government remains committed to ensure the security of its citizens and territory. "The government remains prepared for its responsibilities to ensure the security of its citizens and territory but Swaraj yesterday said that war is not the answer," Baglay said while addressing a press conference in the national capital. He reiterated that India will continue to engage with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels to find a mutually acceptable solution for the recent border standoff between the two countries. Baglay also clarified that the development of its border areas is the legitimate matter of interest for the Indian government as well as its responsibility. Minister of External Affairs (MEA) Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said in the Rajya Sabha that India has taken efforts to ease the standoff with China. She further stated that war cannot resolve problems and that the wisdom is to resolve issues diplomatically on the issue of border stand-off with China. "Bhutan is our neighbour and it wants help with its development. Modi's 'sabka saath, sabka vikaas' policy is not just for Indians but also for our neighbours," said Swaraj. She also said that the government is not just negotiating on Doklam, but is also talking on the bilateral relations with China. India on Wednesday reiterated that peace and tranquility along Indo-China border is an important prerequisite for smooth development of bilateral relations between the New Delhi and Beijing. In response to a question on Chinese MFA's document released on today on the Doklam issue, Baglay said, "India's position on this issue and related facts have been articulated in our Press Statement of June 30, 2017. India considers that peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas is an important prerequisite for smooth development of our bilateral relations with China." Earlier, China emphatically rejected India's interference in its ongoing boundary dispute with Bhutan in the Doklam area and again urged New Delhi to withdraw unconditionally and end the nearly two-month long stand-off. "The China-Bhutan boundary issue is one between China and Bhutan. It has nothing to do with India. As a third party, India has no right to interfere in or impede the boundary talks between China and Bhutan, still less the right to make territorial claims on Bhutan's behalf," the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement. China alleged that India's intrusion into its territory under the pretext of defending Bhutan's territorial claims, has not only violated Beijing's territorial sovereignty, but also challenged Bhutan's sovereignty and independence. Indian and Chinese troops continue to be locked in a standoff in Doklam and both sides have moved additional troops, ammunition and military equipment to the area. The stand-off emerged after Chinese troops were stopped by the Indian Army from constructing roads along the Doklam border. India claims Sikkim border as part of its territory, while China has said that the area falls on their side as per the 1890 treaty signed between British and China. Consequently, China suspended the annual Kailash Manasarovar Yatra and conceded that the decision to suspend the pilgrimage was due to the border scuffle. It also alleged that the Indian troops had crossed the Sikkim sector of the Indo-China border. Beijing has accused New Delhi of violating a convention signed in 1890 between Britain and China relating to Sikkim and Tibet. (ANI)