New Delhi, 28 August 2017,
Just before BRICS Summit beginning 3rd September, Doklam stand off between Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army seems to have resolved. According to the press statement issued by Indian MEA disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going. However, Chinese Mouth Piece Global Times quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying saying India has pulled back its troops and equipment and China will continue to exercise its sovereignty and uphold its territorial integrity in accordance with historical conventions.
The India MEA statement reads as:
Press Statement on Doklam disengagement understanding
August 28, 2017
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 at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going.
The report published in Chinese Mouth Piece quoted Chinese Foreign Spokesperson Hua Chunying as
“On the afternoon of August 28, the Indian side has pulled back all the trespassing personnel and equipment to the Indian side of the boundary and the Chinese personnel on the ground has verified this. China will continue to exercise its sovereignty and uphold its territorial integrity in accordance with historical conventions,”
It further quoted “The Chinese government highly values its friendly relationship with India. We hope India can fulfill the historic agreement on the border and safeguard the stability of the border area with China,”
China has been insisting that the area at tri-junction where it was building road in Doklam is undisputed Chinese territory accordidng to 1890 treaty between China and British India. However, at that time neither Tibet nor Bhutan were part of the treaty. Moreover, Mt Gipmochi to define the line was found many years later. The following 1983 treaty allowing India to open a shopping mart in Yatung was disregarded by Tibet on the same ground as was for 1890. So in 1914 British Young Husband made Simla Accord between India, China and Tibet which defines McMohan line between India’s North East and Tibet. China has over the years trying to discredit McMohan line and disregard 1914 Simla accord. 1890 treaty suits its territorial expansion design. Bhutan has also issued a statement claiming the territory being disputed and urged China to maintain status quo as was prior to June 16th this year. India has friendship treaty with Bhutan, Article 2 of which allows either country to not allow third party endanger its sovereignty and national security. Any further advancement of China in the area is a major security threat for India’s integrity as Siligudi Corridor or the Chicken neck can be a military target for China, which can cut off India’s North East and may allow China to take military strides in case of a war.
The Doklam stand off may be resolved for the time being but it would be hard for India to accept Chinese line of arguments neglecting 1914 Simla accord and acceptin 1890 redundant treaty. Only time will tell, how all three Governments India, China and Bhutan proceed further to resolve the issue permanently.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.