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Parliamentary panel wants India to encourage Bhutan to deploy more troops in Doklam

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Officials from the Foreign Ministry informed the panel that Bhutan stood firmly with India on the issue.

New Delhi: A parliamentary panel adopted a report on the Doklam issue Saturday recommending that India should encourage Bhutan to deploy more soldiers on the northern parts of the sensitive region.

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam in the Sikkim sector from 16 June last year, after the Indian side stopped construction of a road in the disputed tri-junction by the Chinese Army. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, headed by party MP Shashi Tharoor. Gandhi was not present in the meeting Saturday.

Earlier this month, the panel could not adopt the draft report as most of the BJP members skipped the meeting and the quorum could not be reached, according to sources.

Some members of the panel who were present in Saturday’s meeting said the report was adopted with minor modifications.

The draft report, circulated among the panel’s members on 6 August, did not clarify whether the committee was favouring increasing the deployment of Indian troops in the region.

BJP members of the panel had demanded that statements recorded before the committee by the defence secretary and the incumbent and former external affairs secretaries not be made public.

A member of the committee said Saturday that “nothing sensitive and crucial information” shared with the panel by officials has been made public.

The committee members had travelled to Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh to take stock of ground situations and meet senior officials there.

It has been briefed several times on the issue by the former and current foreign secretaries and other officials.

The foreign ministry officials had informed the panel that Bhutan was firmly with India on the issue.

During earlier discussions, Rahul Gandhi had questioned External Affairs Ministry officials on China’s objective and why Beijing chose Doklam to create a confrontation, the sources earlier said. – PTI

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