Doklam standoff might end; India pulls troops out, China says its troops will stay

The external affairs ministry (MEA) has indicated that the 70-day bitter standoff between India and China has ended with both the countries agreeing to withdraw troops from the border region. They have agreed to an “expeditious disengagement”.

“In recent weeks, India and China maintained diplomatic communication in respect of incident at Doklam… during these communications, we were able to express our views and convey our concerns and interests,” the ministry of external affairs said.

It added, “On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is ongoing.”

However, China foreign ministry said Indian forces have already withdrawn to the Indian side of the border and Chinese forces will continue to patrol in Doklam region. 

 

The dispute started when India stalled construction of a Chinese road in Doklam, which lies in the tri-junction of India, China, and Bhutan. Bhutan also has protested China’s road building activity in its territory. New Delhi perceived the Chinese road in Doklam as a threat as the region is close to Siliguri corridor which connects India’s northeast with the rest of the country.

China has said India had no role to play in the area and insisted it withdraws unilaterally or faces the prospect of an escalation. Chinese state media had warned India of a fate worse than its crushing defeat in the war in 1962. They had also said that any dialogue between the two countries would be possible only after India would withdraw its troops from the border. However, India had refused to pull back.

The decision comes ahead of a summit of the BRICS nations – a grouping that also includes Brazil, Russia, and South Africa – in China next month, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend.

The move might prove to be a big advantage for Modi as the Doklam ease could help set the agenda for talks between him and the Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the five-nation meeting.

Indian political commentator Shekhar Gupta said there was too much at stake for the two countries to fight over a small piece of territory.”Hopefully, Doklam is a new chapter in India-China relations. Too much at stake, for both big powers to let legacy real-estate issues linger,” he said in a Twitter post.

Due to the conflict, the Indian and Chinese military representatives did not hold the Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) on August 15. The Indian side has sent the invite well in advance but the Chinese side did not respond to it.

 

 

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