War no solution to disputes, will talk to China: Sushma Swaraj

04 August 2017

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said that war cannot be a solution to the disputes with China or any other country and that the government will keep engaging with China to resolve the dispute.

While she described the Chinese action at the Doklam border and the troop stand-off that as a "matter of concern," she said India, however, has shown enough restraint in the use of language.

"Our stand is that we maintain restraint in language and keep patience and engage in diplomacy. No solution will be gained out of war because even after war, talks are required. A solution cannot be derived out of war," she said.

Replying to a discussion on "India's foreign policy and engagement with strategic partners", Swaraj expressed confidence that a mutually- acceptable solution would be found through talks to the various problems, not just border issue, but other issues where countries have differences.

India, she said, is engaged with China to resolve differences, not only on the stand-off at Doklam but all matters related to the border, Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the blocking of UN sanctions against Jaish-e-Mohammad terror outfit chief Masood Azhar.

In this regard, she recalled the agreement reached between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their recent meeting in the Kazakhstan capital Astana that differences should not be allowed to be converted into disputes.

"Patience is key to resolving problems" because if patience is lost, there can be provocation on the other side," Swaraj said while addressing the Rajya Sabha. "We will keep patience to resolve the issue," she said.

"We will continue to engage with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels to find a mutually acceptable solution on the basis of the Astana consensus between our leaders. I note the sense of the House is supportive," the minister added.

Replying to questions on the country's military preparedness, she said, any country will be aware of the need for military readiness and India also knows well that the military is meant to fight wars.

"But war cannot resolve problems. So wisdom is to resolve diplomatically," the external affairs minister asserted.

Chinese and Indian troops have been engaged in a standoff in the Doklam area near the Bhutan tri-junction since June after a Chinese army construction group attempted to build a road in Bhutan's territory.

Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Doklam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.

India has said Beijing's action to "unilaterally determine tri-junction points" violated a 2012 India-China pact which says the boundary would be decided by consulting all the concerned parties.

Swaraj also took a swipe at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for meeting Chinese envoy Luo Zhaohui amid the military stand-off between India and China over the Doklam row.

She said it was sad state of affairs for a leader of the principal opposition party to meet the Chinese envoy to know the facts, instead of talking to the government.

On Pakistan, she said, it was the Pakistani government that derailed the bilateral dialogue by continuing its support to terrorism and meddling in Kashmir. India will start dialogue with Pakistan the day it stops promoting terrorism against this country, she added.

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