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Border tiff: US indicates India, China ‘are talking’ and ‘going to talk’ more

NEW DELHI: The US on Friday indicated that India and China “are talking”+and are further “going to talk to one another” about the ongoing, tense standoff at the border in Doklam+ .

The US state department also said it is watching the border situation “closely and carefully” and wants both countries to “engage in direct dialogue” to defuse tensions.

“This is a situation that we are following closely and carefully,” said US state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

Without replying directly to a question on whether the US has been briefed by Beijing on the border flare up, the State spokeswoman indicated that the US is aware that New Delhi and Beijing are trying to sort out the issue.

“They’re talking (about) those issues. They’re going to talk to one another. We would encourage them to direct – engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions,” Nauert said.

A day earlier, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters that “our diplomatic channel is unimpeded”, an indication that the two sides were talking to defuse the crisis. China also repeated its demand that India call back its troops as the first step towards resolution of tension.

Later on Thursday, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj+ ruled out a unilateral withdrawal of Indian troops as is being insisted on by an increasingly belligerent Beijing. She said even China should withdraw its troops.

“India wants that all troops are removed from the tri-junction point before discussing the issue together. All countries, including Bhutan, are with us,” Swaraj said, while responding to queries during question hour in the Rajya Sabha.

The minister added that China’s attempt to build a road in Doklam through Bhutan posed a security challenge to India. She also blamed China for trying to change the status of the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction.
“Their (China’s) intention was to reach the tri-junction so that they could unilaterally end the status of the tri-junction. It was only then that India came into the picture. If China unilaterally changes the tri-junction point, then India’s security is  challenged,” she said.

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