Doklam standoff ends as India, China step back
India and China agreed to disengage from the standoff on the Doklam plateau, after weeks of diplomatic negotiations. Consensus evolved on a formula according to which China promised to make necessary adjustments to its troop deployments, after Indian troops withdrew back to their posts in Sikkim.
The process of disengagement by border personnel had been almost completed under verification from both sides, indicating that no more troops were expected on the face off point at Doklam, and both countries reverted back to status quo ante.
Significance of disengagement on the Doklam plateau
- The agreement comes a week before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China to attend the BRICS summit. It also paves the way for a one-on-one meeting between Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping
- It is clear is that neither side wanted this dispute to overtake the relationship and at the brief meeting between Indian Prime minister Modi and President Xi at the Hamburg G-20 summit, the leaders had taken a decision to give diplomacy a chance on the standoff
- Also, peace and tranquility in border areas is an essential pre-requisite for further development of our bilateral relationship
China’s stand post disengagement:
- The fact that troops and construction equipment would be cleared from the face off point indicated that China had put off any plans to further construct the road
- Chinese officials maintained that border troops continue to patrol in the Donglang area, referring to the Chinese name for the Doklam plateau, and that China exercised sovereignty in the Doklam area, implying that Beijing, so far, did not consider the area of the face off as a disputed tri-junction of China, India and Bhutan
- The very fact that both countries have been able to issue statements, even if they were designed to satisfy their domestic audiences suggests that in diplomatic negotiations, each took into account the other’s constraints. In issuing statements that were inconsistent with each other, both sides seem to have agreed to disagree