New Delhi, August 28 (newsin.asia): Timed with the expected visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China for a BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit on September 3, India has begun de-escalation in the month-long Doklam stand off.
The step was taken after rounds of bilateral discussions through diplomatic channels, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on Monday.
NDTV quoted sources in New Delhi as saying that China is withdrawing its road construction equipment from Doklam as part of the deal with India. But it is not clear if it is withdrawing its troops too.
Beijing however has indicated that India is withdrawing “unilaterally.”
The Indian MEA statement 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 on-going.”
A flash from the Chinese official news agency, Xinhua, announced that India has begun withdrawal of its troops but added that “China will continue to safeguard its territorial sovereignty according to historical boundary treaties.”
Observers wonder if this means just continuing to press its territorial claims verbally, or it means continuing to patrol the area militarily.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that the Chinese government values its neighborly friendship with India.
“It expects India to respect historical boundary treaties and basic principles of international law, and to work with China to safeguard peace and stability in the border area on the basis of mutual respect of each other’s territorial sovereignty.”
Giving its version of the background, the Chinese government said that on June 18, more than 270 armed Indian troops with two bulldozers crossed the boundary in the Sikkim sector and advanced more than 100 meters into Chinese territory to obstruct routine road construction in the Dong Lang (Doklam) area of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Spokesperson Hua said that since the Indian trespass occurred, China has lodged representations to India through diplomatic means on multiple instances.
“It has explained the situation to the international community, and urged India to immediately withdraw its border troops to the Indian side of the boundary. Meanwhile, Chinese troops have taken effective measures to safeguard China’s territorial sovereignty and lawful interests.”
“Dong Lang, which borders India’s Sikkim state to the west and the Kingdom of Bhutan to the south, is part of Chinese territory and has been under Chinese rule for a very long time,” Hua maintained.
According to the Convention between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet (1890), the area undoubtedly belongs to China. The agreement was inherited by India after its independence and has been repeatedly confirmed in writing by successive governments of the former British colony.”
The Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval travelled to China in July and held talks with Chinese officials on the sidelines of the meeting of the National Security Advisors of BRICS.
In July China had indicated that Indian troops had reduced in Doklam but MEA trashed the claim.