External Affairs

Border Stand-off With China Can be Resolved Through Talks: Sushma Swaraj

“Patience, control on comments and diplomacy can resolve problems,” said the external affairs minister in Parliament on Thursday.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. Credit: PTI

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The border stand-off with China cannot be resolved through war but should be settled bilateral talks, the government told Parliament on Thursday while asking for patience and time to address the Doklam issue.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India is engaged with China to resolve differences, not only on the stand-off at Doklam but all matters such as general border disputes, the issue of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the blocking of UN sanctions against Jaish-e-Mohammad terror outfit chief Masood Azhar.

“Patience and control on comments are key to resolving problems. We are maintaining patience and controlling comments,” she said in the Rajya Sabha replying to a discussion on “India’s foreign policy and engagement with strategic partners” during which members voiced concern over the stand-off and raised questions over India’s strategy.

She read out a statement giving details and explained India’s position on the Dokalam stand-off which has been going on for over a month. “War is not a solution to anything. Even after war, there has to be a dialogue. So, have dialogue without a war… Patience, control on comments and diplomacy can resolve problems,” the minister said.

She said if patience is lost, there can be provocation on the other side. “We will keep patience to resolve the issue,” Swaraj said. “We will keep engaging with China to resolve the dispute.”

In response to questions, she said military readiness is always there as the military is meant to fight wars. “But war cannot resolve problems. So wisdom is to resolve diplomatically,” the external affairs minister asserted.

She expressed confidence that the issue can be resolved through bilateral talks. At the same time, Swaraj lashed out at the Congress and its leadership for meeting Chinese ambassador over the border stand-off.

She said the Congress leadership rushed to get the Chinese perspective instead of first seeking details from the own government. “You (Congress) should have first sought details from the governnment and then confronted the Chinese envoy,” she said.

Swaraj then said Jawaharlal Nehru, during the 1962 war, had convened sitting of Parliament after Atal Bihari Vajpayee wrote to him regarding this. She said she had called all parties in phases for two days to explain the entire Dokalam issue and the Opposition had left after being fully convinced.

She also slammed the Congress for questioning why India had boycotted an international conference called by China over One Belt, One Road (OBOR).

“Do you know through where the OBOR passes? And you are asking these questions? It is a matter of national sentiment (for India). You are the main Opposition party, You should speak with responsibility,” she said, referring to the project which China proposes to build through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

At this, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the remarks made by his party colleague Rajeev Shukla regarding OBOR were in his “individual” capacity.

Swaraj then took a dig at the Congress, asking since when the party had become so democratic that each member speaks in own voice. Earlier, Congress leader Anand Sharma accused the government of mishandling foreign relations, particularly in the context of tensions with China.