(TibetanReview.net, Aug28, 2017) – The United States has on Aug 27 expressed hope that India and China could negotiate a peaceful resolution to the ongoing Doklam standoff which had continued since Jun 16 while expressing support for the restoration of the status quo. India has been insisting on the restoration of the status quo, accusing China of trying to alter it by ignoring a deal it had with Bhutan on the territorial issue and also endangering India’s security by extending a road to the strategic location in violation of an agreement with it.
Expressing concern about “sovereignty issues and adherence to international law” amidst increased tension between the two Asian giants, a senior Trump administration official has told India’s PTI news agency, “We are concerned. We hope that the two sides can negotiate a peaceful resolution to the issue. We support return to the status quo.”
And he has added, speaking on condition of anonymity, “We are monitoring the (Doklam) situation very carefully.”
“We’re also concerned about Bhutanese sovereignty issues,” the official was quoted as saying, obviously referring to China’s claim over Doklam which actually belongs to the tiny Himalayan Kingdom.
The official was further quoted as saying, “We are just watching it very carefully and we are in conversation with the Indian government about the issues. We stand ready to help if that is desired. But, for the time being, we’re monitoring the situation carefully.”
He was reported to have quickly clarified, however, that there has been no such request from India and there was no such intention on the part of the United States as well. He has also explained that by help he meant contributing to seeing peaceful relations prevail in the region.
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While there has been no direct negotiation between the two sides due to China’s insistence that India should withdraw from Doklam or face war, the chinachristiandaily.com reported Aug 27 that the two sides had been going on with negotiation talks for three months. It also cited “several analysts” as saying there was still hope to resolve the dispute.
“There are some indications that the two are engaged in back-channel dialogue and negotiations to try to resolve this,” it quoted Jeff Smith, director of Asian security programs at the American Foreign Policy Council, a Washington-based conservative think tank, as having told CNBC.
It also cited an Indian expert as saying that while the situation was serious, given the aggressiveness and vulgarity of the statements coming out of the Chinese side, there was no reason for both the sides to want to go to war. “Nothing can be ruled out, but chances are not high of a real military conflict,” veteran Indian diplomat Neelam Deo, director of Gateway House, a Mumbai-based foreign policy think tank, was quoted as saying.
The dispute started when Chinese troops tried to build a road in Doklam, which is claimed by Bhutan, an ally of India.
“China values peace and the interests of innocent people on both sides of the border, that is why it has remained patient in the face of such encroachment,” the report quoted China’s official Xinhua news agency as having said. “China has never made the first move in wars fought since 1949 but it would not flinch if a war were to be inflicted upon its people.”