Doklam standoff comes to end

File photo of Indian soldiers patrolling the India-China border.
GUWAHATI, Aug 28 – The standoff between India and China at Doka La (Doklam), which lasted for more than two months, came to an end today with both sides agreeing to pull back troops from the face-off site following a series of diplomatic communications between both the countries.

The agreement brought an end to the apprehension of flaring up of the situation in the area. However, the Government of India has directed all the border guarding forces to remain alert as the possibility of Chinese incursions in any other part of the international border cannot be ruled out.

A statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) this morning said, “In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication. We have been able to express our views and convey our concerns and interests. On this basis expeditious disengagement of the border personnel at the face-off site has been agreed and is going on.”

Meanwhile, highly placed sources in the Government of India told The Assam Tribune that both the sides have started the process of pulling back troops from the face-off site. “Though India never apprehended a full scale war with China, there were concerns that the situation may flare up in the Doka La area and that is why, India moved in troops closer to the area to deal with any eventuality. But with both the sides agreeing to pull back troops, the situation will now cool down. However, it is still not decided how far the troops of both sides will be pulled back,” sources added.

However, the disagreement over the area has not come to an end and discussions would be on between India and China to try and bring an end to all the disputes, sources said. But it is a positive development that both sides agreed to the disengagement of troops to improve the situation in the area, sources pointed out.

Ever since the face-off started on June 16, India had been making efforts to bring an end to the impasse through diplomatic channel and several rounds of talks were held between the two countries. Bhutan was also involved in the process. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “cordial talks” with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G-20 summit in July, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval also had a meeting with the Chinese President to discuss the issues.

At the same time, the Indian troops stood firm near the disputed site and did not allow the Chinese troops to enter the Doka La area. Finally, the diplomatic efforts paid dividends and the impasse came to an end today. “We believe that India showed maturity and the Chinese finally showed their understanding,” sources added.

Economy was one of the main reasons for the success of the recent diplomatic efforts, sources said, adding, “China cannot afford to have a war with India at this moment as their exports to India is four times that of Indian exports to China. Moreover, even during the standoff, the trade and commerce was not affected.”

However, the Government of India is not complacent after the agreement is reached on Doka La face-off as both the countries still have disputes over boundary. The possibility of incursion by Chinese patrol parties in other parts of the international border also cannot be ruled out. Meanwhile, the government has directed the Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police to remain alert to prevent any such move by the Chinese.

News Source Assam Tribune R Dutta Choudhury

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