Dalai Lama: Talks are only way for India, China to end stand-off

Indian soldiers kill three rebels in Kashmir

NEW DELHI — India and China will have to resolve their prolonged military stand-off in a remote Himalayan region through talks, the Dalai Lama said on Wednesday, ruling out the chance of war because it would be destructive to both parties.

Indian and Chinese troops have been embroiled in a seven-week confrontation on the Doklam plateau, claimed by both China and India’s tiny ally, Bhutan.

The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India after fleeing a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet, said there would be no victors in a war and talks were the only option.

“This century should be a century of dialogue,” the Nobel peace laureate said in the Indian capital. “One-side victory, one-side defeat is old thinking. Destruction of your neighbor is destruction of yourself. The only way is through talks.”

Indian troops went into Doklam in mid-June to stop a Chinese construction crew from extending a road India’s military says will bring China’s army too close for comfort in the northeast.

Beijing has demanded India leave the area, and low-key talks between the neighbors have produced no breakthrough, raising fears the two could stumble into a conflict.

India and China have a 3,500-km-long mountain border over which they fought a 1962 war that ended in India’s defeat. They have since failed to settle the border, leading to frequent claims of intrusions into each other’s territories.

The chance of a conflict was low, however, despite exchanges of harsh words, the Dalai Lama said.

“Two big nations don’t have the ability to eliminate the other or defeat the other. So you have to live side by side.”

Tension between India and China has been rising over several issues. India is concerned over Beijing’s military collaboration with archrival Pakistan as well as its expanding involvement in infrastructure development across South Asia.

Meanwhile in an unrelated development, Indian forces shot dead three rebels in Kashmir on Wednesday, police said, two days after soldiers killed five fighters along the de-facto border with Pakistan.

Inspector general of police Muneer Ahmed Khan said soldiers and police cordoned off a residential area after receiving information there were armed militants there.

“During the patrol three militants were found right outside a house and they were killed in a short and good operation,” Khan told AFP.

“All the three were locals,” he said.

The deaths sparked clashes between government forces and residents of the area, near the town of Tral, where locals threw stones and shouted slogans against Indian rule.

Tral was the hometown of Burhan Wani, a hugely popular rebel leader whose death last year at the hands of security forces sparked months of deadly protests in Kashmir.

The latest incident came two days after Indian soldiers killed five unknown combatants as they tried to cross the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the disputed territory with Pakistan. — Agencies