India, China almost complete troop disengagement
New Delhi/Beijing: India and China have almost completed the disengagement of border personnel at Dokalam, in a major diplomatic breakthrough which came a week before the BRICS summit in China which is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Monday announced that both the countries agreed to an "expeditious disengagement" at the face-off site in Dokalam following diplomatic communications.
In response to a question later in the evening, the MEA said the process of disengagement had almost been completed under verification, reflecting an end to the nearly two-and- half-month long standoff.
"This process has since been almost completed under verification," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, referring to the disengagement.
In Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, however, sought to highlight the withdrawal of Indian troops to dispel the impression of a climbdown by China.
The official, while stonewalling questions about India's announcement of the mutual disengagement of troops, claimed its soldiers continued to patrol the area.
Troops of the two countries had been locked in a standoff in Dokalam since June 16 after Indian troops stopped the Chinese Army from building a road in the disputed area.
India had deployed about 350 Army personnel in the area.
Sources in the Army said it had disengaged, implying that its troops had been withdrawn.
"In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Dokalam. During these communications, we were able to express our views and convey our concerns and interests," the MEA said.