News No new development at Doklam face-off site: Sushma Swaraj

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She also said that the standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies in the Doklam area of Bhutan started when the Chinese side tried to alter the status quo

NEW DELHI: There have been no new developments at the site of the face-off with China in Doklam and status quo prevails in the area, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today.

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, she also said that the standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies in the Doklam area of Bhutan started when the Chinese side tried to alter the status quo by building a road in the area in violation of its understandings with both the countries.

"Since the disengagement of Indian and Chinese border personnel in the Doklam area on August 28, 2017, there have been no new developments at the face-off site and its vicinity. The status quo prevails in this area," she said.

Responding to a separate question, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said China claims approximately 90,000 square kilometers of Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh. He asserted that the state is an integral and inalienable part of India.

"The fact that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India has been clearly conveyed to the Chinese side on several occasions, including at the highest level," he said.

Responding to another question, he said boundary negotiations between Bhutan and China are matters of discussion between the two countries.

"India's relations with other countries stand on their own footing and are independent of their relations with third countries," he said.

On India's ties with Bhutan, Singh said the two neighbours share unique and exemplary ties of friendship and cooperation.

"Government of India is committed to nurturing and advancing its historically close and enduring ties of friendship with Bhutan for common prosperity of the two peoples," he said.

Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar, while replying to a question, said the government has been making all possible efforts to trace the 39 Indian workers missing in Iraq.

"Efforts are currently underway to obtain proof of their being alive or dead, including by rendering assistance to the Iraqi Authorities in matching of DNA samples of close relatives with the mortal remains being found in mass graves in Iraq," he said.

PTI