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Lesson from Doklam: No de-escalation until full return of status quo
First signs have emerged that India and China are disengaging — even if partially — on the ground in Ladakh. Both sides have pulled back their troops from the site of the June 15 clash in Galwan Valley.
However, Pointing out to the outcome of the Doklam stand-off in 2017 as a marker, Experts have said;
- The government must not agree to de-escalate the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh without an agreement on returning to “status quo ante” or the situation before the stand-off began.
It is because the lesson for us in Doklam is that disengagement is not enough in order to declare an end to tensions at the LAC. It is necessary that we define end points up to where the troops must withdraw to and no understanding should be reached without the restoration of status quo ante.
How the Doklam issue ended?
It has been more than two years since the Doklam standoff took place.
- According to experts, however, while the disengagement brought an end to hostilities between India and China over China’s attempt to build a road near the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction area, transgressing into Bhutanese territory, it did not stop the PLA’s construction work right across the Doklam plateau.
Thus, the conclusion is that if the military only agrees on disengagement and de-escalation, it may end up at a disadvantage.
What happened at Doklam?
In Doklam, the faceoff had taken place over territory belonging to Bhutan, which has a border security agreement with India.
The Chinese wanted to take control of the territory, called Doklam, to come closer to what is known as the chicken’s neck or the Siliguri Corridor of India that connects the Northeast with the rest of the country.
- It was practically an eyeball-to-eyeball standoff which ended in the view of China hosting BRICS and India refusing to back down, and a possible boycott of the summit. The standoff ended with diplomatic interference.