How Doklam standoff between India and China was resolved: The inside story
New Delhi: During the first diplomatic attempt to resolve the over-two-month-long Doklam standoff in the Sikkim region, Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi had asked National Security Advisor AK Doval last month, “Is this your territory?”, reports The Times Of India.
Yang reflected the Chinese inflexibility over changing the status quo at the tri-junction of Bhutan, India and China border and building a road in Bhutanese territory.
Doval, unintimidated, said that it was not China’s territory either as Bhutan has claimed it. According to the sources, Doval asked, “Does every disputed territory become China’s by default?”
The NSA said that the disputed area was claimed by Bhutan and a treaty with the Himalayan kingdom obliged India to defend its security interests.
Doklam was at the center of negotiations that were held between China and Bhutan to resolve their border disputes, Doval stressed. But he also reminded Yang of Beijing’s offer to hand over to the kingdom 500 square kilometres in the north in exchange for Doklam.
It is learned that Doval argued on the claims made by China over Doklam and that it was not settled, hence, both the sides should simultaneously pull back their troops to restore status quo.
As the negotiation went on between the two south Asian giants, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and India’s ambassador to ChinaVijay Gokhale too tried to resolve the dispute.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met each other in Hamburg on the sidelines of the G20 Summit where they agreed on the talks. In the meeting, Modi suggested Xi that talks should be held at NSA level and the dispute should not be allowed to escalate.
Indicating that the two countries have currently got a lot to gain from cooperation, Modi asked Doval to explore ways in which the dispute could come to a peaceful resolution.
He is understood to have stated, “India will not allow the status quo to be changed by force under any circumstance. Any change must happen through negotiations and through mutual understanding.”
As China kept on provoking by statements and movement of missiles and tanks and scuffles at other border points, India refused to give in.
The Army was instructed to ignore these provocations.
“Even a single shot fired by an edgy soldier could have sparked a wider conflagration in such tense times,” said a senior officer, as per TOI.
But it did not take long for the Army as it reinforced men and moved the back-up security personnel close to the confrontation site.
“We knew that the rhetoric and the movement of missiles etc were mind games intended to get us to blink. But at the same time, we were prepared for any eventuality which might have been forced on us,” said a source.
However, China realized that with India, negotiations were the only way out unlike the case with some of its other neighbours.(TOI)