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Post-Doklam standoff, India, China hold first round of border talks

In the 20th round of special representatives talks, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and China's State Councillor Yang Jiechi are likely to deliberate on ways to maintain peace and tranquillity along the border.

Reported by: PTI, New Delhi [ Updated: December 22, 2017 12:41 IST ]
The Doklam standoff began on June 16 over People's
The Doklam standoff began on June 16 over People's Liberation Army's plans to build a road in area claimed by Bhutan after the Indian troops intervened to stop it as it posed a security risk to Chicken Neck, the narrow corridor connecting India with its North-eastern states.

India and China are holding a fresh round of border talks under the special representatives mechanism which is the first on the sticky boundary issue since the 73-day-long military standoff in Doklam.

In the 20th round of special representatives talks, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and China's State Councillor Yang Jiechi are likely to deliberate on ways to maintain peace and tranquility along the 4,000-km-long border between the two countries.

The Doklam standoff is expected to figure in the talks. When asked about the talks, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the discussions will be focused on the boundary issue, adding "we, of course, attach lot of importance to this dialogue mechanism."

Ahead of the talks, China said that the Doklam standoff posed a "major test" for the bilateral ties and lessons should be learnt from it to avoid a similar "conflict" in the future.

The Doklam standoff began on June 16 over People's Liberation Army's plans to build a road in area claimed by Bhutan after the Indian troops intervened to stop it as it posed a security risk to Chicken Neck, the narrow corridor connecting India with its North-eastern states.

The standoff ended on August 28 following mutual agreement between India and China.

Asked about the disengagement of troops in Doklam, Kumar refused to give details, calling it an operational matter.

During the weekly media briefing, he said it was not appropriate to comment on operational matters like how the disengagement had taken place, how many troops were stationed, where were they.

Asked about India's position on China's One Belt One Road project, he said India's policy is very clear and consistent.

"We believe that connectivity initiatives should be based on universally recognised norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and must be pursued in a manner which respects territorial integrity and sovereignty," he said.

India has opposed the OBOR due to its sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). CPEC is part of the OBOR.

Asked about Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently pitching for India joining the project, Kumar said India will always be open to any efforts which will address its concerns.

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