External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, along with Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, on Friday briefed Opposition parties on the ongoing standoff with Chinese troops in the Sikkim sector’s Doklam area and the attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims.
China has “breached and encroached” on territory in Doklam area, the Centre told parties, according to the Hindustan Times.
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the external affairs minister and foreign secretary had given Opposition leaders detailed information on the border issue. “Everybody promised to support the government,” he said.
After the briefing, Principal Spokesperson for the government Frank Noronha said that with this meeting, they aimed to “apprise MPs from different parties” about the July 10 attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s A Navaneethakrishnan, who attended the meeting, said they were “satisfied with the government’s response”.
Anand Sharma of the Congress said they had advised the government to “tackle the situation diplomatically by rising above politics for national interest. “National security is priority for the Indian National Congress,” he said after the briefing.
Communist Party of India(Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the government had clarified reports on security lapses. “The Centre said they will tackle the situation [Sikkim standoff] through dialogue.”
However, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said they did not “get the answers we were looking for”. “We asked serious questions – Why was the government unprepared and whether this was their failure,” he added.
The Sikkim standoff
India and China are currently locked in a diplomatic standoff. Both nations have maintained that troops from the other country had transgressed into their territory in the Sikkim sector’s Doklam area.
Bilateral ties have been strained since the Indian Army stopped China from constructing a road in the region. New Delhi has made it clear that it will not allow China to construct a motorable road up to the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction through the Doklam plateau.
Attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims
On Monday night, seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims were killed and 18 others were injured after militants opened fire on their bus in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district. The Jammu and Kashmir Police has set up a Special Investigation Team to look into the strike.