India, China agree to disengage in Doklam: MEA

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New Delhi: India and China on August 28 agreed to “expeditious disengagement” of border personnel bringing down the curtains on the 73-day standoff at the plateau located at the tri-junction of Sikkim-Bhutan and China.
The end to the face-off that began on June 16 came ahead of the September 3-5 BRICS meeting to be hosted by China at Xiamen, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend.
The dispute arose after Indian troops stepped onto a territory held by Bhutan to prevent the Chinese side from constructing a road that New Delhi said had security implications for it. China insisted that Indian troops first withdraw unilaterally from the area before talks could be held.
Emphasizing that New Delhi always maintained that it is only through diplomatic channels that differences on such matters can be addressed, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “Our principled position is that agreements and understandings reached on boundary issues must be scrupulously respected’’.
The second response from MEA came after reports from Beijing quoted Foreign Ministry spokespersons Hua Chunying that ‘’Chinese troops on the ground have verified it. China continues to exercise sovereignty.
She said Indian soldiers and equipment was pulled back to the Indian side of the border and Chinese side continues to patrol the Doklam area. “The Chinese side continues to uphold sovereignty and territorial integrity according to the historical convention,” she said.
The dispute arose after Indian troops stepped onto a territory held by Bhutan to prevent the Chinese side from constructing a road that New Delhi said had security implications for India. China insisted that Indian troops first withdraw unilaterally from the area before talks could be held on it.
Since its official reaction on June 30, India maintained that according to agreement between special representatives arrived at during border talks, settlement of borders at tri-junction would require consultation with the third country, in this case Bhutan.
Earlier in the day, India announced that both sides maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the Doklam incident and during these exchanges New Delhi was able to express its views and convey its concerns and interests.
The MEA said India’s policy remains guided by the belief that peace and tranquillity in the border areas is an essential pre-requisite for further development of bilateral relationship.
As was mentioned on June 30, the MEA recalled that both India and China had agreed in Astana, when PM Modi met President Xi Jingping in early June that “differences should not be allowed to become disputes” and Sino-Indian relations must remain stable. “We look forward to continuing engagement with the Chinese side on this basis”.
The United States had asked India and China to talk directly to end the standoff.

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