New Delhi: India and China on Monday ended their two and half-month-old stand-off in Doklam plateau with Indian MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) issuing a press statement that India and China have reached an understanding by following diplomatic communications and agreed to quick disengagement along the border, by pulling back troops.
Both Bhutan and China claims Doklam as their own territory. The long-standing issue was started with the intervention of Indian troops when Chinese army brought bulldozers and other road making equipment in the disputed territory of Doklam. Indian troops intervened to stop Chinese from making roads because the road would give China access to the ‘Siliguri corridor’ in West-Bengal also known as ‘Chicken’s neck’. The Chicken’s neck or the Siliguri corridor links mainland India to its northeastern region. China said it had every right to build a road on its territory (Doklam), but India backed Bhutan, claiming that the region, in fact, belongs to Bhutan.
The resolution to Doklam issue comes ahead of BRICS summit, as it was clear that Chinese president Xi Jinping had personally invested a lot of time and efforts into hosting a successful BRICS summit. Last year the summit was held in India, where President Xi appreciated Prime minister Modi for a hosting successful summit. According to a report in PTI, Indian diplomats at one point clearly told the Chinese that unless the Doklam issue is resolved, the prime minister could consider not going for BRICS. If that were to happen, then it would not only be a personal loss of face for Xi Jinping but it would also mean no summit will take place, as all five heads of government have to attend for a summit to take place. After India’s boycott earlier this year of the OBOR (One Belt One Road) initiative, another Xi’s personal project, and the USA, UK and Japan totally supporting India in the Doklam standoff, this would have meant a serious blow to the Chinese side.
With Monday’s resolution, both India and Bhutan have got their desired ‘status quo’, which means the state in which things were before the war. China meanwhile has released a face saving statement that Indian troops withdrew from the site of the standoff first and its patrol in the Doklam region continues. China has been patrolling in Doklam for years as the 1998 UN charter states that both China and Bhutan can patrol in the disputed region but no country is allowed to construct anything.