India, China take steps towards ending Doka La standoff as MEA announces 'expeditious disengagement'

In a development which could lead to the de-escalation of tensions at Doka La, the Ministry of External Affairs has released a statement saying that expeditious disengagement of border personnel at Doka La has been agreed to and is ongoing.

The statement is as follows: "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. On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going."

This move is surprising as only on Thursday, China had said that India had "slapped its own face" by deciding to build a road near Pangong Lake in Ladakh and it would only worsen the Doka La dispute. Beijing had warned that the move was not "conducive" to peace in the region.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The move also comes just days before the BRICS Summit which will be held in China in September. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be travelling to China for the summit.

China on Thursday had also issued a safety advisory to its citizens living in India. This was the second such notice amid the border row dispute between the two countries. The advisory had asked them to be alert and its validity is till 31 December. The last one-month advisory was issued on 8 July.

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a standoff at Doka La in the Sikkim section for the past three months, which has led to escalation in bilateral tensions.

The dispute began when India stalled the construction of a Chinese road in Doka La, which lies in the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan. Bhutan has also protested China's road building activity in its territory. New Delhi perceives the Chinese road in Doka La a threat as the region is very close to its Siliguri corridor which connects India's North East with rest of the country.

The 3,488-kilometre de facto India-China border is divided into three sectors: West, middle and east.

Updated Date: Aug 28, 2017 12:44 PM

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