January 21, 2018

Govt briefs Opposition in hope of a smooth Parl session

16 July 2017, 01:01 | Frank Carlson

Village near India China border

Village near India China border

Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will brief the opposition today at Mr Singh's residence on the ongoing standoff with China over a road builiding in Sikkim and the security situation in Kashmir after the recent terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims.

The government reached out to the opposition parties and some of its allies on Friday to build a consensus on the border standoff with China ahead of Parliament's monsoon session, but faced tough questions on the delay in resolving the dispute.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang had earlier said that India and Pakistan are important South Asian countries but the "situation in Kashmir has attracted the attention of the global community".

Asked if his remarks on diplomatic resolution of Doklam stand off indicated any shift in Chinese demand for withdrawal of Indian troops from the area, he said India has already outlined its position on the issue.

Mr. Jaishankar told the MPs who attended the three-hour meeting that apart from diplomacy, "other channels" were also being explored to end the standoff and India was insisting that the pre-June 16 condition be reached in Doklam.

Amid the raging Indo-China border tensions that have been going on for weeks, the Chinese media only seems to be getting more aggressive. "What the Indian government pursues is to use the peace talks as a cover to encroach on China's territory and change its status quo". The opposition parties had earlier said the government had not kept them informed over the developments in Dokalam. Everyone said that they, across party lines, are with the government over the issue.

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Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said: "While we have heard the detailed account and sequence of events which has been presented by the government, the Congress party and the other opposition parties have made it clear that when it comes to national interest, India's security and India's integrity are paramount and are non-negotiable".

The Rajya Sabha member also said that the "growing" instances of lynchings and attacks on minorities and Dalits are also adding to the view that the deteriorating internal security environment in the country is a "matter of grave concern".

While there was just informal conversation on a range of issues between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Hamburg during BRICS meeting, there was no headway on the stalemate in Doklam. The meeting is primarily aimed at taking the opposition leaders into confidence over the major national issues.

Emboldened by the strategic support and new weapons it has received from the US, India's BJP government has pursued an increasingly hardline policy against Pakistan.

Government chief spokesperson Frank Noronha said the basic goal of the meeting was to apprise MPs from different parties about situation along Sino-Indian border and on terrorist attack on Amarnath Yatris.

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