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Modi government briefs opposition leaders on easing of Dokalam standoff

LiveMint logoLiveMint 29-08-2017 PTI

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government on Tuesday briefed the opposition leaders on the easing of Dokalam border standoff with China with External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj speaking to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders.

The Congress, on its part, welcomed and supported the understanding between India and China to de-escalate the border tension at Dokalam in the Sikkim sector.

Sources said Swaraj called up Singh and Gandhi, besides Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and deputy leader Anand Sharma.

Sources said foreign secretary S. Jaishankar also called up Sharma separately and informed him about the current status and the easing of border tensions at Dokalam.

Sharma confirmed that the government has briefed Congress leaders about the Dokalam standoff ahead of the BRICS summit.

“This understanding that has been reached is a positive development which we support,” Sharma said.

Asked about the development at the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said this is a matter of national security but one should not go into a rejoicing mode.

“There would be nobody happier than my party, than me, if what has just been stated by you, is not the momentary truth but the stable longer term or at least medium truth. However, just like we should not go into panic mode as soon as something happens, we should not go into rejoicing mode the moment it is received,” he said.

“I can only join you with the entire nation in hoping that this information which is coming is at least medium, if not long term true, stable and comprehensive and that unfortunately other conflicting information coming is untrue,” he added.

He said both countries should engage to find a permanent solution in the light of the 2012 agreement between India- Bhutan and China about the location of the trilateral junction.

“There must be an agreement to maintain the status quo until a resolution which is acceptable to all,” he said.

Sharma, who is a former minister, said it is important that both the countries being strategic partners, neighbours and large developing countries work with sincerity guided by the principles and parameters of 2005 agreement between the two prime ministers on the border issues.

Swaraj is also learnt to have talked to other opposition leaders, informing them about the development.

CPI leader D. Raja welcomed India and China agreeing to “expeditious disengagement” of troops, saying the move “is in the interest of the two countries”.

India and China have almost completed the disengagement of border personnel at Dokalam, in a major diplomatic breakthrough that came a week before the BRICS summit in China which is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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