After months of tension along the Doklam border, Indian and China have agreed to end the territorial standoff in the Himalayas. The move comes ahead of the major economic BRICS summit scheduled to be held next month in Xiamen, China. On Monday, India’s Ministry of External Affairs released a statement claiming that an expeditious disengagement of troops from Doklam has been initiated by both the countries.
Chinese news agency Xinhua confirmed the disengagement of the troops and equipment from the disputed Doklam area. Defense and political experts owe this move to the upcoming BRICS meeting where Indian PM Narendra Modi and Chinese premier Xi Jinping are expected to meet. According to Observer Research Foundation Mumbai, Beijing is looking to expand the platform to more emerging nations which are often seen to be sympathetic to China’s interest. These include Thailand, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Egypt and few others who will be part of the conference this year at Xiamen conference. Not only has the disengagement settled the dispute between the two countries peacefully but also boosted PM Modi’s credibility to withstand Chinese pressure. While the chances of an armed conflict are unlikely, the two countries are expected to go into a trade and economic conflict for a long run now.
The Doklam dispute is not new, and the whole issue reignited in July when China began constructing a road in this area. Though the region is not part of India, it is considered of utmost strategic importance as it connects New Delhi to the Northeastern India. China, on the other hand, maintains its stake claiming Doklam to be a Chinese territory. The region has often been cited by Indian ally Bhutan as troublesome in the recent years. Bhutan has maintained strong relations with India and asked Indian army’s intervention to help seek out the matter. India and China have already shared a full blooded war in 1962 when Indian forces were left to ruins. The two Asian giants have shared many small battles ever since.
This year in June, China accused Indian troops of crossing the border and disrupt the construction of a road in Tibet. In response to this China blocked Indian pilgrims from the holy journey to Mansarovar Kailash which lies in the Tibet autonomous region. The only way to the pilgrimage is through Nathu La pass that runs along the Himalayan Border of two countries.
The international fraternity is applauding the move as India is already facing deteriorating relations with Pakistan. Many analysts believe that Chinese investment in Pakistan-administered Kashmir has often been the subject of tension between New Delhi and Beijing.