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28 Jul 2017

Can Ajit Doval work his magic to resolve Sikkim standoff?

As tensions are boiling between India and China over the military standoff in Doklam, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met with top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi, on the sidelines of a BRICS security summit in Beijing.

While the exact details on their discussions were kept under wraps, both sides are reported to have discussed 'major problems' and 'bilateral issues'.

Can Doval resolve the impasse?

In context

Doval in China: Major Sino-Indian bilateral issues discussed

Context: Sikkim standoff

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a standoff along the LAC in the Doklam region, situated in the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction for over a month. Both sides have mobilized troops in mass numbers, leading many to speculate on the possibility of war.

The ongoing war of words between India and China

Back and forth

The ongoing war of words between India and China

From Chinese media to its defence ministry and army, everyone has warned/threatened India against the consequences of not withdrawing troops from Doklam.

China even put forth troop withdrawal as a pre-condition for negotiations.

India has appeared seemingly calm and composed through the stand-off, with Foreign Secretary Jaishankar said that India is taking a 'diplomatic deep breath' and engaging in dialogue to resolve the issue.

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What was discussed in the meeting?

While the Indian side kept mum on Doval's schedule or on the nature of his discussion with Yang, China's state owned news agency, Xinhua provided a broad outline on the discussion.

It stated that Yang set forth China's position on major problems and bilateral issues.

Doval and Yang are also steering talks through the Special Representatives mechanism constituted to resolve bilateral boundary disputes.

Earlier diplomatic interactions

India attended a security meeting of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization in Dalian, China in early July and discussed matters including border security. PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping further discussed a range of issues at the G20 summit held in Hamburg recently.

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