14:28 GMT +319 September 2017
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    A general view of Leh, Ladakh, India. (File)

    India Denies Chinese Intrusion in Ladakh, no Thaw in Doklam Standoff

    © AP Photo/ Dar Yasin
    Asia & Pacific
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    Indian government on Sunday rejected reports of China building a bridge in Ladakh - a region in Jammu and Kashmir even as the Doklam standoff entered its eighth week with no signs of thaw.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — India has denied any fresh aggression from China notwithstanding the continuing standoff at Doklam tri-junction. Some news reports on Sunday said China was building a bridge in the no man's land in Ladakh.

    The Press Trust of India (PTI), quoting official sources, said there has been no increase in troops or any movement on the Chinese side that may indicate a possible conflict. But, Indian soldiers have been asked to be on high alert, and artillery guns have been moved to different points.

    Chinese soldier (L) gesturing next to an Indian soldier at the Nathu La border crossing between India and China in India's northeastern Sikkim state. (File)
    © AFP 2017/ Diptendu DUTTA
    Meanwhile, status quo remains in Doklam with both India and China refusing to retract their forces. India has reportedly reinforced troops along the eastern border, close to the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction. At Doklam, the point of the stand-off, there are around 350 troops on the Indian side and around the same number of soldiers on the other side of the border.

    International experts have been suggesting a third-party mediation to end the protracted standoff that has pushed relation between the two Asian neighbors to a new low.

    "It is tempting to call for international mediation, perhaps a visit by the United Nations Secretary-General to both capitals. But Mr Antonio Guterres has shown no appetite for Asian affairs. Mr Trump's attention is torn between his crumbling administration, North Korea and his Twitter handle. The only world leader who has the ear of both Mr Xi and India's Mr Narendra Modi is perhaps Russia's Mr Vladimir Putin…," Ravi Velloor, writes in the Straits Times, in an op-ed article.

    Meanwhile, Indian experts maintain that India is not at fault but it was China which tried to alter the status quo at the disputed Doklam — a territory claimed by China and Bhutan backed by India.

    "India is not wrong on the Doklam issue and the government has said it very categorically that we are ready for talks. It is China which is not ready for talks and puts its own conditions," Nandan Unnikrishnan, Vice-President, at the Observer Research Foundation, told Sputnik.

    Can Russia under President Vladimir Putin mediate on the Doklam standoff? Not really, says Unnikrishnan.

    "No one can mediate on the Doklam standoff because no country will appear to be objective to the other side. It is for only India and China to resolve it amicably," Nandan Unnikrishnan added.

    The standoff close to the tri-junction of India-China-Bhutan started on June 16, after a construction party from China's People's Liberation Army entered the Doklam area and attempted to construct a road, forcing the Indian and Bhutanese troops to stop them. India says its friendship treaty with Bhutan allows India to guard the latter's territorial sovereignty.

     

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