The 71-day old Doklam stand-off finally seems to have come to an end. On Monday, the Ministry of External Affairs announced in a press statement that both India and China on the basis of diplomatic engagements decided to ‘disengage’.
“…expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going,” said the MEA statement on ‘Doklam Disengagement Understanding’.
Even as questions are being raised on the levels and nature of disengagement, highly placed sources have told India Today that the ‘disengagement is mutual and simultaneous’.
There was constant diplomatic engagement in the recent past, despite the Chinese war rhetoric, to cool tempers ahead of the BRICS Summit to be held in Xiamen, China in the first week of September where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to have bilateral talks. Both sides wanted a conducive environment for talks which wouldn’t have been possible if tensions at the border continued. This also comes at a time when the Chinese President is looking to be re-elected at the 19th party Congress in November.
The MEA statement speaks of the continued engagement to de-escalate tensions. “In recent weeks, 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,” the ministry’s statement added.
While there has been a war of words between the two sides, India and China have kept communication open since the stand-off broke out at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction in Doklam. And Bhutan also explicitly mentioned that the bilateral agreement between China and Bhutan had been violated through the ‘unilateral’ action by China of building road in Doklam.