Diplomacy to defuse India, China border crisis slams into a wall: sources

By Sanjeev Miglani

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s diplomatic efforts to end a seven-week military standoff with China have hit a roadblock, people briefed on the talks said, prompting Chinese state-run media to trumpet rhetoric of “unavoidable countermeasures” on the unmarked border.

China has insisted that India unilaterally withdraw its troops from the remote Doklam plateau claimed by both Beijing and Indian ally Bhutan.

But China did not respond to India’s suggestion in the talks that it move its troops back 250 meters (820 ft) in return, said one source with close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

In the low-key diplomatic maneuvers that took place outside the public eye, the Chinese countered with an offer to move back 100 meters (328 ft), so long as they received clearance from top government officials.

But there has been no comeback since, except for China’s mounting warnings of an escalation in the region, which it calls Donglang.

“It is a logjam, there is no movement at all now,” said a second source with knowledge of the talks.

In Beijing, China’s Foreign Ministry, which has repeatedly urged India to withdraw, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the state of talks.

Indian troops went into Doklam in mid-June to stop a Chinese construction crew from extending a road India’s military says will bring China’s army too close for comfort in the northeast.

Their faceoff since, military experts say, is the most serious since going toe-to-toe in the 1980s, with thousands of soldiers each, elsewhere along the 3,500-km (2,175-mile) border.

China has held off going to war in the hope New Delhi would see reason, the state-run Global Times, which has kept up a barrage of hostile commentary, said on Tuesday.

“If the Narendra Modi government continues ignoring the warning coming from a situation spiraling out of control, countermeasures from China will be unavoidable,” it said.

The border crisis caps a year of souring diplomatic ties between the Asian giants, even though trade between the fast growing economies is rising rapidly.

India has grown concerned at China’s ties to its arch rival Pakistan, viewing their trade corridor across Kashmir as an infringement of its claim to the whole of the region.

Modi refused to join President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road initiative to knit together Asia and beyond, making India the lone country to boycott a summit in May.

China has warned New Delhi not to be drawn into a Western military…

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