India, China end impasse, agree to withdraw troops from Doklam

Troop withdrawal takes place ahead of prime minister Modi’s visit to China for BRICS summit

shankar

Shankar Kumar | August 28, 2017 | New Delhi


#Xi Jinping   #Narendra Modi   #China   #India   #Doklam   #BRICS summit  
Prime minister Narendra Modi meeting president Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO Summit, in Astana, Kazakhstan on June 9 – days ahead of the trouble in Doklam
Prime minister Narendra Modi meeting president Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO Summit, in Astana, Kazakhstan on June 9 – days ahead of the trouble in Doklam

More than two-month old standoff between India and China on Doklam appears to have been resolved as the two countries have agreed to withdraw their border personnel from the area which lies at the tri-junction of India, Bhutan and China. 

A press statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on August 28 reads: “In recent week, 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.”
 
This is seen as a significant development taking place just ahead of prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Xiamen in China to attend the 9th BRICS summit scheduled to be held from September 3 to 5. 
 
In the background of threat issued to India by China’s foreign and defence ministries and the Global Times’ daily dose of spewing of vitriol , it didn’t appear that thaw would come so soon in the tense relationship of the two countries. In effect, tension had gone up so high between the two countries that several experts and analysts had begun to express their fear that they might indulge in border skirmish, if not full-fledged war to resolve the issue.
 
Apart from sending their troops to Doklam, both countries had put their air, navy and ground troops on high alert. At one point it seemed that Modi would cancel his September visit to China for the BRICS. There was also a buzz in this regard in New Delhi’s diplomatic corridor. 
 
China’s Communist party’s Congress is expected to be held in November. Xi Jinping and his supporters want to project him as China’s paramount leader like Deng Xiaoping. A fight with India could have posed a problem in that projection, because Jinping, as per sources, despite being very strong within his party’s structure, is facing challenges from the group led by his predecessor Hu Jintao. 
 
On the diplomatic front too, a war with India would have put China’s rise as a powerful and a responsible country in spot. 
Countries like Japan had openly supported India on Doklam, while the US, Britain, France, Germany and Australia were seen standing by New Delhi.  
 
During her visit to India in the third week of July, Australian foreign minister Julia Bishop stirred hornet nest when she told media persons that “this (Doklam) is a long-term dispute … Australia’s position is that territorial disputes should be resolved peacefully between the claimant countries. And in case of maritime disputes, it should be subject to UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea). Likewise with land disputes, these should be resolved peacefully between competing claimants.” Reacting sharply over Julia Bishop’s comment, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang in a regular press conference on July 25 said: “This principle does not apply to current standoff as there is no dispute in the Doklam region.” 
 

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