New Delhi: Despite the relentless pressure from China to move out of Doklam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a firm stand that India not compromise its interests and allow the Chinese to build a road there.However, he also wanted to find a peaceful solution and gave a free hand to his security team headed by national security adviser Ajit Doval to defuse the tensions on borders with a fast-emerging superpower.
While the political leadership maintained silence despite multiple provocations and open threats from China, the security team kept the Chinese engaged to find a resolution to the complex situation developing on Bhutanese soil where both sides had taken strong stands.
Interestingly, when Indian diplomats in Beijing were discussing de-escalation of the situation in Doklam with their Chinese counterparts, the military was engaged in stand-offs with the People’s Liberation Army at five different places across the Line of Actual Control at different places. Most importantly, the whole situation also required to take Bhutan along as the Chinese were saying it was their issue with Bhutan and India had no role to play in it.
Due to this coordinated effort from the security team, both India and China have withdrawn troops from Doklam and agreed to maintain the status quo there ending the over two-month-long tensions. Mail today takes a look at Modi’s key men who cracked Doklam for him.
The breakthrough started with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Hamburg during Modi’s visit there followed by another one in Beijing. Talking peace, Doval also made it clear to the Chinese that India would not budge from its stand. He was the chief coordinator between the military and diplomats while he was constantly working to assure Bhutan about its safety and security in the crisis.
Gen Bipin Rawat
The Indian Army chief played a vital role in the whole situation to ensure that the Chinese were not able to use their military to pressurise India by carrying out incursions into the Indian territory. His men stopped the Chinese at different locations and were in stand-off with the PLA at four to five locations, including Yatung and Phari Dzong. The army chief ensured that the government was on a strong wicket on the talking table.
He used his experience in dealing with China to convince them about resolving the situation peacefully and led the diplomatic team in finding a solution to the problem. Despite the slow progress and early reluctance of Chinese to talk, he continued his efforts while ensuring that the Ministry of External Affairs did not react to the Chinese verbal assaults. He also handled the relations with Bhutan and its leadership.
Vijay Keshav Gokhale
Scheduled to return to India in foreign office, Gokhale led the diplomatic efforts on the Doklam front in Beijing. Highly placed sources said he used his diplomatic skills to persuade the Chinese bureaucracy there. The 1981-batch Indian Foreign Service officer will return as secretary (economic relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs.