Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara has said his country will not take any sides in the ongoing Sikkim standoff between India and China. Nepal wants India and China to use “peaceful diplomatic means” to resolve the issue, said Mahara, who is also the Foreign Minister. He told reporters on 7 August:
Nepal will not get dragged into this or that side in the border dispute.
Some media reports are attempting to drag us in favour of one or the other side, but I want to make it clear that we have not taken any side in this matter.
He said that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba will pay an official visit to India from 23 – 27 August and necessary preparations are going on for the same. However, a detailed itinerary of the visit is yet to be finalised. He also told media persons that Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang will arrive in Nepal on 14 August on an official visit.
The Chinese leader’s visit will be development-centric, and it cannot be linked with the prime minister’s visit to India in any way, he added.
The Doklam Standoff Began on 16 June
India and China have been locked in a standoff in Sikkim section’s Doklam area since 16 June after Chinese troops began constructing a road near the Bhutan trijunction.
Bhutan has protested to China, saying the area belonged to it and accused Beijing of violating agreements that aim to maintain the status quo until the boundary dispute is resolved.
India says the Chinese action to lay the road was unilateral and changes the status quo. It fears the road would allow China to cut off India’s access to its northeastern states.
Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Doklam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.
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