Sikkim standoff at Doklam: Amid the ongoing tensions with China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj have discussed the issue with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who had arrived in New Delhi yesterday on a two day visit to India, according to Indian Express report. This is the first time that New Delhi has raised the issue of standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at the trijunction with Bhutan, with a visiting foreign leader, the report says. Yesterday a report said that Beijing has informed foreign diplomats that People’s Liberation Army would not wait patiently for indefinite time.
Expressing concern over the possibility of escalation of tensions between two global superpowers, Bishop has said Australia wanted a peaceful resolution as it could result in miscalculation and misjudgement. “My understanding is that this is a long-term dispute… it was the subject of discussion today. Australia’s position is that territorial disputes should be resolved peacefully between the claimant countries. And in case of maritime disputes, it should be subject to UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea). Likewise, with land disputes, these should be resolved peacefully between competing claimants. And we urge countries to do that. We don’t want to see any escalation of tensions that could lead to miscalculation and misjudgement,” Bishop was quoted as saying by IE.
The move can be seen as the government’s ploy to brief international community on the New Delhi version of events.
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Apart from the China issue, PM Modi welcomed Australia’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA). Swaraj and Bishop also discussed about the change in the 457 visa programme. Bishop has assured that the change will not impact Indian professionals. Notably, 457 has been the most common visa for Australian or overseas employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work temporarily in Australia. On Australia not being included in the Malabar exercise, Bishop said it was not upsetting.