Doklam standoff: India and China have decided to disengage their soldiers in the Doklam region of Sikkim sector, External Affairs Ministry said today. Soldiers of both countries were engaged in standoff since mid-June. In a statement, the MEA said, “In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam. During these communications, we were able to express our views and convey our concerns and interests. On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is ongoing.”
Reuters reported China’s foreign ministry as saying that Chinese forces will continue to patrol in Doklam region. It said Indian forces have already withdrawn to the Indian side of the border in Doklam.
Chinese state media CGTN also reported that India and China have agreed to end the standoff in Donglang area of both countries’ border. It based its report on a Times of India story about the recent development. China calls Doklam as Donglang.
The standoff had started after China’s People’s Liberation Army tried to build a road in the Doklam area, which belongs to Bhutan and is strategically significant for India. China claims the as its own. The standoff threatened to derail decades of trust-building between New Delhi and Beijing after the fallout of 1962 war.
In the weeks following the beginning of standoff, Chinese media had launched a propaganda war against India, threatening New Delhi with war even. However, India didn’t respond to China’s verbal attacks and, instead, insisted on finding a peaceful solution to the issue through dialogues.
Media reports today interpreted the decision taken by both countries as a victory of India’s diplomacy, which was praised by other international powers as well. While Japan had openly backed India, the US offered to help both countries in ending the standoff.
Small incursions and troop stand-offs are common along other parts of the contested 3,500-km (2,175-mile) border between India and Chinese soldiers. However, the recent standoff was was marked by its length and the failure of talks to resolve the dispute, raising fears of a wider escalation as the two Asian giants compete for influence. The Nathu La Pass on the border between India’s Sikkim and China-controlled Tibet, was the site of a fierce border clash between Chinese and Indian troops in 1967.