Bhutan welcomes the disengagement by India and China at the face-off site in the Doklam area, the foreign ministry stated in a press release yesterday.

“We hope this contributes to the maintenance of peace and tranquility and status quo along the borders of Bhutan, China and India in keeping with the existing agreements between the respective countries.”

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India stated in a press release on August 28 that an expeditious disengagement of border personnel at Doklam area has been agreed to and is on going.

“In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam,” the press release stated.

“During these communications, we were able to express our views and convey our concerns and interests.”

Doklam is one of four disputed areas between Bhutan and China in the western region of Haa and Paro dzongkhags. According to an earlier press release from the foreign ministry, Bhutan, the Chinese Army had started constructing a motorable road from Dokala in the Doklam area towards the Bhutan Army camp at Zompelri on June 16. On June 29, the foreign ministry stated in a press release that Bhutan has conveyed to China, both on the ground and through the diplomatic channel that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the agreements and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between the two countries.

In response to questions on the Doklam disengagement understanding, the spokesperson for the MEA, India, Raveesh Kumar, stated India has always maintained that it is only through diplomatic channels that differences on such matters can be addressed.

“Our principled position is that agreements and understandings reached on boundary issues must be respected,” the MEA stated. “India’s policy remains guided by the belief that peace and tranquility in the border areas is an essential pre-requisite for further development of our bilateral relationship. The two countries had also agreed in Astana in early June that differences should not be allowed to become disputes and that India-China relations must remain stable. We look forward to continuing engagement with the Chinese side on this basis.”

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China, Hua Chunying stated at a press conference that by 2:30PM of August 28, the Indian side had withdrawn its border personnel and equipment to the Indian side. In light of the changes on the ground, she said that the Chinese border troops would continue patrolling the Dong Lang area and that China would accordingly make necessary adjustments and deployment.

“The Chinese government attaches importance to developing good neighborly and friendly relations with India,” the spokesperson said. “We hope that India could earnestly honor the border-related historical treaty as well as the basic principles of international law and work with China to preserve peace and stability in the border area and promote the sound development of bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect for each other’s territorial sovereignty.”

Staff  reporter