China Hints Bilateral At BRICS NSA Meet Amid Border Row

**Beijing:** China on Monday hinted that its top diplomat Yang Jiechi and Indian NSA Ajit Doval may hold a bilateral meeting this week on the sidelines of the BRICS NSA Summit even as it urged New Delhi to give up “illusory thinking” and immediately withdraw its troops that Beijing says have crossed into Chinese territory.

The Foreign Ministry said that while it was not aware of a Yang-Doval meeting but there was a tradition of host countries arranging bilaterals between the head of the delegations at the summit.

Beijing has so far ruled out any talks over the border row until India withdraws troops from Doklam in the Sikkim sector.

“As far as we know, during the previous meetings, the host arranges the head of the delegations to hold bilateral meetings in which they exchange views on bilateral relations, BRICS cooperation and multilateral affairs,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

The two-day meeting of BRICS NSAs will begin on July 27.

“The meeting is the main platform to discuss the contact political and security cooperation,” Lu said. “Currently the global geo-political factors are complex and intertwined and regional hotspot issues are escalating.”

Defence Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian urged India to immediately withdraw its troops, saying this was a prerequisite to resolving the issue. He said China would defend its territorial sovereignty “at all costs”.

“India should immediately withdraw its troops to the Indian side of the boundary with China, which is a precondition and basis for resolving the conflict,” Wu was quoted as saying by the state-run Global Times daily.

“India should take practical measures to correct its wrongdoing, stop provocation and jointly safeguard peace in the border regions. The Doklam region is part of China’s territory. China has every right to build road in its own territory.

“The 90-year history of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) demonstrated its increasing capacities and unshakable determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is easier to shake the mountains than to shake the PLA,” Wu said.

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a dragging stand-off in Doklam, which is at a tri-junction of India, Bhutan and China. China calls Doklam its own territory but India and Bhutan say it is Bhutan’s.

India stopped the Chinese Army from building a road in Doklam in June, leading to the face-off between New Delhi and Beijing. India has blamed China for trying to change the status of the tri-junction and wants the issue to be resolved diplomatically.