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Parliamentary panel, including Shashi Tharoor, Rahul Gandhi to visit border areas in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh in May

The panel has been looking into various aspects of the India-China military standoff at Doklam and has been briefed several times on the issue by the former and current Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.  

Reported by: Agencies, New Delhi [ Published on: April 30, 2018 23:50 IST ]

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The Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs will visit areas in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh bordering China in May to look at the situation amid concerns that China had ramped up its military infrastructure in the Doklam region.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who will be heading the Committee, will undertake the visit along with Congress President Rahul Gandhi, one of the panel members.

The panel has been looking into various aspects of the India-China military standoff at Doklam and has been briefed several times on the issue by the former and current Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.

The visit, expected to take place in the last week of May, will come weeks after informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping during which the two leaders decided to provide "strategic guidance" to their respective armies to strengthen communications and prevent another Doklam-like military stand-off along their long-winding disputed border.

The idea is to get a firsthand experience of the situation on the India-China border in the two states and to see, or if possible visit, areas where incursions have happened, another source said.

The panel, which may also use a chopper to get an aerial view, could also interact with top security and defense officials deployed there, sources said.

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day standoff in Doklam in the Sikkim sector from June 16 last year after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed tri-junction by the Chinese Army.

Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam.

Earlier, foreign ministry officials had informed the 31-member parliamentary panel that Bhutan was firmly with India on the issue.

During the discussions, Congress president Gandhi questioned foreign ministry officials on China's objective and why Beijing chose Doklam to create a confrontation, sources had said.

Gandhi had also asked about reports of a major Chinese buildup near Doklam, to which officials replied that nothing had been done in Indian territory.

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