India, China troop pullout from Doklam 'almost complete'

Casey Dawson
August 29, 2017

Small incursions and troop standoffs are common along other parts of the contested 3,500km frontier, but the recent impasse was marked by its length and the failure of talks to resolve the dispute, raising fears of a wider escalation as the two Asian giants compete for influence.

Though both the countries have started pulling out of their soldiers but the process of removing them will not be completed today, said sources.

Sareen said the danger of an accidental exchange of fire had been diffused, but "Does this mean that all is hunky dory between India and China?". China, however, claimed that the Indian troops have withdrawn to Indian territory and that its army will continue to patrol the area.

China and Indian authorities have agreed to bring to an end a prolong stand-off at the Sikkim border that began in June, Indian government said Monday.

"On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site in Doklam has been agreed-to and is ongoing", our New Delhi correspondent reports quoting the press statement.

India had claimed a Chinese army construction crew had entered the area without notice on June 16.

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India said on Monday it had agreed with China to end a months-long military standoff at a strategically important disputed area in the Himalayas and troops had begun disengaging.

India's announcement seems to have come days ahead of the expected visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China for a Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) summit in September. There were speculations that the two countries could even go to war over the issue.

Hopefully, he said, Doklam is "a new chapter" in India-China relations. The Dalai Lama and the self-proclaimed Tibetan government-in-exile have since been based in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala. "I am pleased to confirm that trespassing Indian personnel have all pulled back to the Indian side of the boundary", Ms Hua told a regular news briefing.

Asked if the disengagement was from both sides, Hua repeated the same statement. Agreements reached on boundary issues must be respected.

However, she said: "In the light of the changes of the situation on the ground China will make necessary adjustment and deployment". It does not include the word "mutual" and it does not elaborate on what "expeditious disengagement" means, although most are taking that to refer to withdrawal.

The development is being seen by diplomats and security experts as a success for India's diplomacy, and also as a face saver for China which had indulged in war rhetoric for the past over two months.

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