India’s foreign ministry said on Monday it had agreed with China to an “expeditious disengagement” of troops at a disputed border area where soldiers from the two countries have been in a stand-off for more than two months.
“In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. “On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going.”
China said while it was “pleased” that India had withdrawn its troops from Doklam but Chinese troops will “remain in the region” and exercise their “sovereignty over the region”.
Beijing said Chinese border troops will continue to patrol in Doklam, in the Sikkim sector.
The Chinese Foreign Office statement is in contrast to India stating on Monday that both countries have agreed to “disengage” in Doklam where their armies have been on a standoff since the middle of June, sharply escalating tensions.
The conflict, which was the worst in decades, saw 300 soldiers from each side, confronting each other on the remote Doklam plateau in the Eastern Himalayas, an NDTV report says.
“ India ignored repeated baiting and aggressive rhetoric by China to insist it would seek diplomatic channels to resolve the tension. India had also urged that both sides withdraw troops to engage in dialogue; Beijing insisted on the unilateral pulling out of India’s soldiers,” the report adds.
In June, Indian soldiers crossed the Sikkim border to stop China from constructing a road on the Doklam Plateau, which is disputed territory for Chin and Bhutan. India has sided with Bhutan’s claim. Delhi had also stressed that it had forewarned China that the road would be seen as a serious security concern because of the access it opens up to the narrow sliver of land called the “Chicken’s Neck” that links India to its northeastern states.
China retorted that it had every right to build a road in a region that is part of its territory.