India and China have agreed to pull their troops from the contested Doklam plain in the Himalaya Mountains after a two-month impasse, the countries announced Monday.
Troops from both sides are slowly being pulled back from what is known as the Doklam standoff.
The “Doklam Disengagement Understanding” calls for a “no war, no peace” status in the area for 70 days, and a gradual withdrawal of troops by both sides.
The resolution comes as questions began to arise regarding Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attendance at the annual BRICS summit in September in China and emerging economic powers China, India, Brazil, Russia and South Africa. There was speculation that China could not present the meeting while appearing to be a belligerent member of the bloc.
It also comes as Chinese president Xi Jinping works to give China’s Communist Party a new image in reorganizing its politburo committees. He is building a case to seek an unprecedented third term as president in 2022 and cannot afford leave the Doklam standoff unresolved, India Today reported Monday
In June, China attempted to extend a road through the area and met resistance from Indian forces. India said it acted on behalf of neighboring Bhutan, which has a defense relationship with New Delhi. Bhutan formally objected to what it considers a Chinese incursion with the construction of the road on what Bhutan perceives is its territory. The result was a buildup of troops in the disputed region and negative comments from all sides.
Monday, spokesman Raveesh Kumar of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs announced, “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 of Doklam has been agreed to and is going on.”
China had insisted publicly that India must first remove its troops from the area it calls Donglang for negotiations to proceed.
By Ed Adamczyk