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Centre briefs all-party MPs on standoff with China

16 July 2017

The opposition leaders were briefed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and top officials, including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar ahead of the Parliament session beginning Monday.

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury made the remarks after the government briefed the Opposition on the standoff and also on the Kashmir issue.

China has repeatedly said India will have to withdraw its troops from the area for the month-long stand-off to end. It has forged diplomatic relations with over 50 countries, but only a few, including India, Bangladesh and Kuwait have embassies in Bhutan. "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".

While the meeting was largely around the Chinese issue, the opposition also had some questions relating to Jammu and Kashmir.

As the impasse festered, opposition parties criticised the government for what they said not taking them into confidence on issues of national interest and security.

"At a strategic level, China would like to separate India from Bhutan, they would like to open up Bhutan to their greater influence, that goes without saying", said Manoj Joshi, a strategic affairs analyst at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.

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It said Indian government didn't desire to negotiate a peaceful settlement on the border issue.

The parties from the Congress to the CPM to the Trinamool Congress sought to know "why such incidents are witnessed now", while NDA ally, the Shiv Sena, questioned the Narendra Modi government for not being aggressing in dealing with China.

Sources said the opposition was informed about the ground situation in Dokalam area and what the government meant to do to de-escalate the border tension. We didn't get answers that we were looking for. We fully support the government in these efforts. Titled, "If this can be tolerated, what cannot be tolerated?", the editorial refers to India's alleged attempts to "erode" Chinese territory, recounts Indian Army provocation and warns of retaliation. They also gave a clarification on the security lapses. "We have faith in the decisions being taken at the border", he told reporters here.

Ramping up the rhetoric against India, Chinese media took to recalling the 1962 India-China war this week, publishing editorials and photographs from five decades ago.

India is estimated to have produced approximately 600 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium, sufficient for 150-200 nuclear warheads; however, not all the material has been converted into nuclear warheads, they said.

Centre briefs all-party MPs on standoff with China