India, China Pull Back Troops in Tense Himalayan Standoff

But fate of controversial road being built by China is unclear
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 28, 2017 7:36 AM CDT
India, China Pull Back Troops in Tense Himalayan Standoff
In this 2016 photo, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)

India and China have agreed to pull back their troops from a monthslong face-off in the high Himalayas where China, India, and Bhutan meet, per the AP. India's Ministry of External Affairs said the two nuclear-armed nations have agreed to "go back to the status quo" before the standoff began over the Doklam plateau. In Beijing, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that Chinese forces in the area had verified the Indian pullout and that China will "continue to exercise its sovereignty and uphold its territorial integrity in accordance with the historical conventions." Hua said Chinese border troops were continuing to patrol in the area, but made no mention of their road-building activities that had prompted India to send its forces across the border nearly three months ago.

An official of the Indian ministry said his country also planned to verify "in due course of time that Chinese troops have also moved back." Analysts hailed the troop pullback. "Both sides realized that this was not an issue on which they needed to have some kind of a shooting match which would completely destroy relations between the two countries," said one analyst at the Vivekanand International Foundation think tank. Doklam is claimed by the tiny kingdom of Bhutan, but Beijing says it belongs to China based on an 1890 Chinese-British treaty. Bhutan and China have held several rounds of border talks but have not made progress in resolving the dispute. The area, also popularly referred to by Indians as the "chicken neck," is a narrow corridor that links mainland India with its remote northeastern states. (More India stories.)

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