Troop ‘disengagement’ by India, China almost complete at Doklam, says MEA


New Delhi: India and China have almost completed the disengagement of border personnel at Dokalam ahead of the BRICS summit in Beijing which is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, the announcement of the disengagement by India and later confirmed by China, was marked by drama, with Beijing claiming that while Indian troops had withdrawn, Chinese troops would continue to patrol the area in the tri-junction with Bhutan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that China is pleased over India’s withdrawal but stated that Chinese troops will “remain in the region” and exercise their “sovereignty over the region”.

 “The Chinese side will continue to exercise its sovereignty and uphold its territorial integrity in accordance with historical conventions,” she added.

Asked if the disengagement was from both sides, Hua repeated the same statement.

“Just now you mentioned that the Indian side has said it is a mutual engagement, but I want to stress that India has withdrawn all the personnel and equipment to the Indian side of the boundary. Chinese personnel on the ground has verified this and Chinese border troops continue to patrol in the Donlong area,” Hua said.

However, she added, “In the light of the changes of the situation on the ground China will make necessary adjustment and deployment,” as per IANS.

Asked what she meant, she did not elaborate.

In an apparent bid to rebut the Chinese claim, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a second press statement in the evening asserting in effect that both sides were withdrawing troops and the process was almost complete.

The MEA evening statement said that following its announcement that India and China have agreed to pull out their troops from Doklam.

“This process has since been almost completed under verification,” the statement said.

It added that India has always maintained that differences on boundary issues can only be resolved through diplomatic channels.

The statement further said that in June in Astana, India and China had agreed that “differences should not be allowed to become disputes”.

We look forward to continuing engagement with the Chinese side on this basis,” it said.

Earlier today, the MEA had broken the news of disengagement.

“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 face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to, and is ongoing,” it had said.