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India silent on Chinese PLA activities in Doklam, says US

Washington, July 27 : New Delhi has outrightly rejected the claim by US Congresswoman  that China has “quietly resumed” its activities in the Doklam area as similar to its manoeuvres in the disputed South China Sea.

Washington, July 27 : New Delhi has outrightly rejected the claim by US Congresswoman  that China has “quietly resumed” its activities in the Doklam area as similar to its manoeuvres in the disputed South China Sea.

India on Thursday denied reports of any Chinese activity in Doklam and said that “status quo prevails in the area”,

Minister of State for External Affairs (MEA), V K Singh said “Since the disengagement of Indian and Chinese border personnel in the Doklam area on August 28, 2017, there have been no new developments at the faceoff site and its vicinity. The status quo prevails in this area.”Singh said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on whether China has constructed new roads south of Doklam

Congresswoman Ann Wagner made the claim during a Congressional hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee for Asia and the Pacific.

During the hearing, she posed a question to a State Department official, Alice G Wells, on Beijing’s actions in the Himalayan region and compared them with its manoeuvres in the disputed South China Sea.

China and India were locked in 73-day standoff in Doklam near Bhutan over Beijing’s construction of a road in the area. The standoff ended after both sides agreed to disengage.

Wagner said, “Although both countries backed down, China has quietly resumed its activities in Doklam and neither Bhutan nor India has sought to dissuade it.”

 Wager asked , “China’s activities in the Himalayas remind me of its south China Sea policies. How should our failure to respond to the militarisation of the South China Sea inform the international response to these Himalayan border disputes?”

In her response, Wells, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, did not directly refer to Doklam, but told Wagner and other lawmakers: “I would assess that India is vigorously defending its northern borders and this (the situation at the northern borders) is a subject of concern to India.”

Referring to China’s aggressive claims of sovereignty over all of South China Sea which is countered by other claimants like  Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan , Wells asked,”How do we maintain the region to be open, to have maritime security, to not have militarisation that would imperil the 70 per cent of global trade?” Wells said. “We need to do that by giving authority to sovereign nations to have choices in how they develop, to have choices in their partnerships.”

 

 

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