India ready for talks with China on border standoff

China's state-run tabloid Global Times on Friday described external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj as having lied to the Indian parliament while once again raising the spectre of 1962 Sino-Indian war.

"If China unilaterally changes the tri-junction point, then India's security is challenged", she said, adding that Bhutan has protested in writing to China on this issue.

China claimed that they were constructing the road within their territory and has been demanding immediate pull-out of the Indian troops from the disputed Dokalam plateau. During the negotiations, U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said that China's $347 trade deficit with his country was not the result of natural market forces but the absence of "fair, equitable and reciprocal" relationship between the two countries.

The editorial also says that China would not agree to the withdrawal of troops from both sides.

The month-long India-China border standoff in the Sikkim sector is seen as part of same Chinese coercive tactics to change the status quo.

Speaking in the upper house of parliament, Ms Swaraj said that "India has not said anything unreasonable" and that "all countries are in India's support".

"India should abandon the fantasy of a long-term standoff at Doklam". Following boasts about China's military prowess and its ability to bring more force to bear at the remote site of the current dispute because of its greater "mobility and logistics capability", the editorial concluded: the "later India withdraws (its) troops, the greater the risk that it will face from a military counteraction and the more clout it will lose politically". "China has already shown its tolerance and calmness to the largest extent", it said.

Describing those possibilities, it says that "if Indian troops continue trespassing into China's territory, what Beijing may do next is to get prepared for a military confrontation against New Delhi and resolve the conflict through non-diplomatic means". "So the continuation of the situation is expected till November", Menon said at an interaction at the Foreign Correspondents Club in New Delhi.

"We would encourage them to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions", Nauert said.

The daily has made an interesting comment that while India was harbouring deep strategic suspicion towards China, Beijing is pursuing "String of Pearls" to encircle China. The Chinese version of the editorial apparently referred to her as "female foreign minister". But a break in the crisis has to satisfy not only India and China but also Bhutan, making this a doubly hard endeavour. "We hope this time New Delhi does not repeat the same mistake", it concluded.

  • Jacqueline Ellis