Indian diplomatic efforts to defuse the Doklam standoff with China appear to have failed.
On Tuesday, a top Chinese diplomat dismissed the Indian offer of a mutual withdrawal of troops.
‘Even if there is only one Indian soldier, even for a day it is still a violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity,’ said Wang Wenli, the deputy director general of the boundary and ocean affairs of China’s foreign ministry, according to PTI.
China has insisted that the ‘trespassing’ Indian troops must withdraw before any talks.
‘It is impossible to have a dialogue with India at this time. Our people will think our government is incompetent,’ she said.
Wang also delivered a warning to the visiting Indian media delegation she was addressing.
‘The Indian side has also many tri-junctions. What if we use the same excuse and enter the Kalapani region between China, India and Nepal or even into the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan, she asked.
Setback for Diplomacy
Wang’s hard-line statements came even as Reuters reported that a quiet diplomatic effort to secure a mutual withdrawal had ‘hit a roadblock’.
The Reuters story, by veteran reporter Sanjeev Miglani, cited anonymous sources familiar with the talks. According to Miglani, a source with ‘close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government’, told him that China did not respond to an Indian proposal for troops on both sides to withdraw 250 metres.
However, ‘the Chinese countered with an offer to move back 100 metres (328 ft), so long as they received clearance from top government officials’, Miglani reported.
Despite this counter-offer, a second Indian source told Miglani ‘It is a logjam, there is no movement at all now’.
Last week, Ajai Shukla of Business Standard had reported that troops on both sides had begun withdrawing in what appeared to be a de-escalation.
As of this writing, the Doklam standoff has lasted 52 days.