India today continued to maintain that diplomatic channels were “functional” to resolve the ongoing standoff in Dokalam in the Sikkim sector. “I think that you are presuming. I will not give a direct answer… There are diplomatic channels. We (both India and China) have embassies which are functioning. The embassies are under bodies of the MEA, which is under the external affairs minister,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said. He was asked why the foreign ministers of India and China are not talking to each other. He also did not reply to a question on whether there was any hope of a resolution during the China visit of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Baglay only said his visit was in the context of meeting of NSAs of BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa).
Chinese and Indian soldiers have been locked in a face- off in Dokalam area since June 16 after Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the disputed area.To another question on the possible visit of Mongolia’s newly-elected President Khaltma Battulga to India and if he was invited keeping in mind the China angle, Baglay said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had send him a congratulatory message. The message also carried an invitation to visit India as the prime minister had visited Mongolia for the last summit and it was turn of the Mongolian leader to come here for such a meeting, he said.
The dates for his visit will be worked through diplomatic channels as per mutual convenience, Baglay said and also asserted that India’s bilateral ties with any country were independent and were not linked with any third country. On whether the Union home ministry had shared any information on the recent arrest of some Hurriyat leaders, involved in cases of terror-funding by Pakistan, he only said regular interactions between various departments on all issues are “usual”.