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India News

Doklam standoff: Japan backs India, says no one must use unilateral force in bid to change status quo



Backed India on the Doklam standoff against China, Japan has said that the parties involved must not resort to unilateral attempts to change the status quo on the ground by use of force.

Geeta Mohan | Posted by Ankit Misra

After the United States of America, Japan has now come out in support of India on the ongoing border crisis between India and China at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction in Doka La (Doklam) plateau.

Responding to questions on the current border stand-off, Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu said on Thursday, “We understand that the standoff in the Doklam area has been ongoing for nearly two months. As it can affect the stability of the entire region, we have been watching the situation very closely”.

Japan, who also is faced with maritime aggression by China, emphasised the need to respect agreements and not alter the status quo at will. “What is important in disputed areas is that all parties involved do not resort to unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force, and resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner”.

The Japanese envoy also said, “We realise that the area is disputed ‘between China and Bhutan’, both recognise the ‘existence’ of a dispute and were engaged in border talks.”

He added, “We also understand that India has a treaty understanding with Bhutan, that’s why Indian troops got involved in the area.” This even as Chinese diplomat Wang Wenli, Deputy Director General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs in China’s foreign ministry had claimed that Bhutan had conveyed to Beijing “through diplomatic channels that the area of the standoff is not its territory”.

Even as China questions India’s presence in Doklam and has set the precondition of withdrawal of troops for any kind of dialogue, Japan has sided with India on her stand. “As far as India’s role is concerned, we understand that India is involved in this incident based on bilateral agreements with Bhutan. External Affairs Minister Swaraj has made it clear that India would continue to engage with dialogue through diplomatic channels to find a mutually acceptable solution. We consider this attitude towards peaceful resolution important, Ambassador Hiramatsu said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the US had called India and China to resolve the stand-off through dialogue. US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, “We are encouraging both parties to sit down and have a direct dialogue.”

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