Sushma Swaraj speaks in the Rajya Sabha. Pic/PTI
Sushma Swaraj speaks in the Rajya Sabha. Pic/PTI

India yesterday said the border stand-off with China cannot be resolved through war but can be settled through bilateral talks.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in the Rajya Sabha that "patience is key to resolving problems" because if patience is lost, there can be provocation on the other side.

Will be patient
"We will keep patience to resolve the issue," she said referring to the Doka La stand-off with China. "We will keep engaging with China to resolve the dispute," Swaraj said in a discussion on 'India's foreign policy and engagement with strategic partners' during which members voiced concern over the stand-off and raised questions over India's policy.

In response to questions, she said military readiness is always there as the military is meant to fight wars. "But war cannot resolve problems. So wisdom is to resolve diplomatically," the external affairs minister asserted. She expressed confidence that the issue can be resolved through bilateral talks.

The Opposition parties said they are with the government in the face of the "unusually aggressive" position adopted by China but wanted the country to be strengthened further militarily to ward off any threat. They earlier also accused the government of spoiling relations with the neighbours and felt that India should not be isolated in the process of isolating Pakistan.

"As we engage with our partner countries, please ensure that there is balance. We should ensure that we engage with all of them. But we should ensure that there is strategic balance," Congress leader Anand Sharma said while initiating the discussion.

China 'unusually aggressive'
Sharma, former Minister of State for External Affairs, said there should be no deviation from the country's laid down foreign policy.

Referring to the stand-off, he said the neighbouring country is being "unusually aggressive" and the "doors of diplomacy seem to be closing". He has said it was a matter of concern that China has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan. He said managing of the periphery comes first and that is of critical importance. "Unless we manage our neighbours correctly, it would be difficult or rather impossible to play a major role globally," he said, adding, "What is your roadmap? There is no stability in your policy. It keeps changing. First you say we would talk and then stop talks."

Sharma said terrorism is a threat and there is increase in cross-border attacks but not a day passes when the life of an Army man is not lost in Jammu and Kashmir. "It is not a matter of statistics, but we have to stand up and protect our borders," he said.

China comments on Doka La again
China yesterday said India should show through deeds its willingness to maintain peace at the border and claimed that 48 Indian soldiers were at Doka La area backed by a "large number" of troops to halt Chinese attempts to build a road on its side of the boundary. In a statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said action of the Indian side amounts to that of "irresponsibility and recklessness." India, however, says that the area belongs to Bhutan.