India-China Doklam standoff ends, troop disengagement begins
New Delhi: Announcing that the nine-week-long Himalayan standoff was effectively over, India stated that New Delhi and Beijing have reached an understanding on a quick “disengagement” of border personnel at Doklam.
“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 in Doklam has been agreed-to and is ongoing,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
The Chinese foreign ministry has said that Indian troops have withdrawn to their side of the border, but Chinese forces will continue to patrol in Doklam region.
The stand-off began on June 16 when a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) team was spotted constructing a road on the Dolam plateau in the Doklam region.
Initially, the Royal Bhutanese Army confronted the PLA team. Then, the Indian army came down from their post on Sikkim side of the border on June 18, beginning the face-off. The stand-off had been termed as the most serious confrontation between Indian and Chinese soldiers since the 1962 war.
The “understanding” comes a week before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to travel to China to attend the ninth BRICS summit at Xiamen.
China had claimed that India had trespassed into Chinese territory and had called for New Delhi to withdraw its troops before any “meaningful” talks. Meanwhile, Bhutan and India had called for a return to the status-quo before the PLA activity of June 16.
As per media reports, around 350 Indian troops were engaged in a stand-off with Chinese troops at a clearing known as ‘turning point’.
The statement issued by the Indian foreign ministry states that an understanding has been reached due to the diplomatic channels remaining open over the weeks.
“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,” the MEA press release said.