India, China Agree to Disengage Troops Along Border

Duty officer at the supersonic Bramas missile system on board the frigate Tarkash after the formal ceremony transferring the ship to the naval forces of India at the pier of the Baltic Shipyard Yantar factory

"We look forward to continuing engagement with the Chinese side on this basis". "We call upon the government to concentrate on strengthening good neighbourly ties", CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said on Twitter.

Though the statement indicates that the withdrawal was mutually agreed after rounds of bilateral discussions through diplomatic channels, it is still unclear if the Chinese troops are reciprocating India's disengagement move.

"India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam", New Delhi said, referring to the stand-off which began on June 16.

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The report, however, states that the "Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the agreement on Monday, though it vowed to continue to patrol the disputed area". China, which says the region is part of its borders, said its troops would continue to patrol the region.

It all began on August 1 when China claimed in a 15-page "fact-sheet" on the ongoing crisis that India's troops had come down from 400 in June to around 40 in July.

The decision to disengage their troops comes ahead of a crucial BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit being hosted by China on September 3-4, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend.

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One aspect of the standoff was the different approaches adopted by the two sides: China's foreign ministry and official media released strong statements and opinions nearly daily while India's official statements were far fewer in number.

India's foreign ministry said it had reached an "understanding" after talks with Beijing about the tense confrontation in an area near the Indian border that is claimed by both China and Bhutan.

But neither of the two sides gave any details about the status of the road whose construction by the Chinese army had become the bone of contend and that had lead to this two months long stand between both the countries. "The situation at the spot has changed, and China will adjust and deploy according to current situation". It does not include the word "mutual" and it does not elaborate on what "expeditious disengagement" means, although most are taking that to refer to withdrawal. So much so, parties have asked for proof when the Indian Army conducted the surgical strike.

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Chinese media and its foreign ministry spokespersons repeatedly warned of military escalation, a possible "countdown to war" and of a repeat of India's humiliating defeat by China in 1962.

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