New Delhi: China and India have agreed to end a lengthy standoff at the Sikkim border that began in June, with Beijing reportedly abandoning plans to construct a road that had triggered the crisis
China also remained silent on its plans to build a road, which sparked the prolonged stand-off in the Doklam area near Sikkim, and said it would “make adjustments” with the situation on the ground.
As the Indian statement on mutual “expeditious disengagement” went viral on social media and among Chinese journalists, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying sought to highlight the withdrawal of Indian troops+ to dispel impressions of a climbdown by Beijing.
“On the afternoon on August 28th, India has pulled back all the trespassing personnel, equipment to the Indian side of the boundary,” she said. “Chinese personnel on the ground have verified this. The Chinese side will continue to exercise its sovereignty, uphold territorial integrity in accordance with the historical conventions,” she said, stonewalling questions about India’s announcement of mutual disengagement of troops.
The Chinese side, Hua added, continues to patrol the Doklam area. She also declined go into questions on whether there was any mutual understanding between the two countries to resolve the stand-off.
However, after repeated questions, she said, “I can tell you that China will make adjustments with the situation on the ground.” She did not elaborate. Hua was also conspicuously silent about whether China would proceed with the building of the road in Doklam, which was the prime reason for the stand-off.
India wanted the status quo to be restored to withdraw its troops. Bhutan, which claimed sovereignty over the area, had lodged a diplomatic protest to China on June 28. Troops of the two countries had been locked in a stand-off in Doklam since June 16 after Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the disputed area.
Indian troops intervened to stop Chinese troops from building the road close to the strategic Chicken Neck, the narrow corridor connecting India’s mainland with its North East. India said China’s road building also violated the 2012 agreement between the Special Representatives of India and China to resolve the boundary issue. The agreement referred to the strategic tri-junction between India, China and Bhutan.
Two weeks ago, Chinese and Indian soldiers clashed at the picturesque Pangong Lake in Ladakh in the Western Himalayas. On camera, soldiers were seen hurtling stones at each other. Delhi said the two-hour conflict was triggered by China attempting an incursion onto the Indian side of the lake.