Responding to concerns over the India-China standoff at the tri-junction with Bhutan, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday told Parliament that the government was negotiating not just on the Doklam row, but ‘on the entire bilateral ties’ between the two countries. Confident that a solution will be found through this method, she ruled out war as an option. Speaking in Rajya Sabha at the end of a discussion on ‘India’s foreign policy and engagement with strategic partners’ during which members voiced concerns and raised questions, especially on the standoff with China and the policy on Pakistan, Swaraj said Chinese firms in India had huge economic stakes, one of the reasons behind India’s economic growth.
“We are not just negotiating on Doklam, but the entire bilateral ties… the entire bilateral relationship is being discussed in its entirety, and solutions will be found from this,” she said while responding to BSP’s Satish Chandra Misra who, in his speech, suggested that negotiations with China on Doklam should be done on the basis of the economic relationship between the two countries.
She ruled out war as an option and said dialogue was the way out. With some members saying that the country should be ready for war, she said a standing army was there for such situations but said that even after a war, a solution is arrived at through dialogue. She called for ‘patience’ and ‘restraint’ in dealing with the situation, and also underlined the need for restraint in talks.
“We will keep patience to resolve the issue… We will keep engaging with China to resolve the dispute,” Swaraj said. On ties with Islamabad, she said India will start a dialogue the day Pakistan stops promoting terrorism against this country. She rejected the opposition contention that the Modi government had no policy on Pakistan, asserting that it had laid the ‘roadmap’ envisioning peace and normalcy even before it took over.
“But it cannot be one-sided… Terror and talks cannot go together. The day they stop promoting terror, we will start the talks,” she said. “You are asking what is our Pakistan road map? We had declared it even before the swearing-in. We had invited prime ministers of all the neighbouring countries and all came… Bilateral meetings were also held and I was present,” Swaraj said. Since then, the relations with Pakistan have been witnessing ups and downs, she said.