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After constant criticism over Doklam, Shashi Tharoor led parliamentary panel which included Rahul Gandhi, praises govt’s handling of the standoff

A parliamentary panel headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, in which Rahul Gandhi was also a member, has praised the government for its ‘overall handling’ of the Doklam crisis. According to reports, the parliamentary panel formed to study the Doklam standoff and Indo-China relations submitted its report to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on September 4.

The panel called the standing committee on external affairs, in its report, has also warned that the Chinese have built infrastructure ‘uncomfortably close’ to the tri-junction with Bhutan and the structures are yet to be dismantled. The panel, which also included Congress President Rahul Gandhi, has stated that the Indian government managed to send the necessary signals to China that India will not acquiesce its unilateral and forceful attempts to change the status quo at any of India’s territorial boundaries.

It is notable here that Tharoor was one of the very few leaders in opposition who had applauded the government’s successful efforts in handling the diplomatic and military crisis. He had congratulated the MEA and the government after the standoff ended in August last year.

 

The report has also asked the government to constantly engage with Bhutan on the subject of North Doklam so as to prevent the Chinese army from shifting the tri-junction point southwards in future. It has also cast doubts on China’s strategic intentions and cautioned the government that even though the PLA has withdrawn its troops, for the time being, they should not be taken casually. The report also calls for improvements of road infrastructure on the Indian side and suggested the government provide high-tech gear and equipment to the Indian troops stationed near the tri-junction.

The report has also stated that the Doklam region is very close to the narrow Siliguri corridor which is the only road link to North Eastern states and any change of status quo at Doklam is not a good news for India.

The Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a tense, eyeball to eyeball standoff in Doklam for a period of 73 days starting from 16 June 2017 which managed to catch global attention. The standoff came to an end on August 28 last year with troops from both nations disengaging simultaneously.

After a political uproar in India over the government’s handling of the standoff, the parliamentary panel was tasked with studying the crisis. Over the months, government officials and diplomats, including former foreign secretary S Jaishankar have briefed the panel over the issues.

Rahul Gandhi, who has been very vocally critical of the government over the Doklam crisis was called out for expressing his total ignorance over the issue when asked how he would have handled the situation during his recent UK visit. Congress had even actively fanned media speculations over renewed Chinese aggression at the standoff site even after the government’s clarification of the unchanged status quo. Since the Congress President was a part of the parliamentary panel and eas even projected in the media for being the most inquisitive member, the final report hailing the government’s actions is bound to raise uncomfortable questions for him.

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