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China and India 'pull back troops' in bid to ease border tensions


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28 AUGUST 2017 • 1:21PM

China and India have agreed to withdraw their troops from a tense border stand off, indicating a thaw in two months of confrontation that some feared could result in open conflict.

The Asian rivals became embroiled in a bitter dispute when Chinesetroops began building a road in Doklam, a disputed territory which overlooks a strategically important area of India.

India then dispatched police to halt the works, setting off more than two months of sabre rattling between the two sides.

The dispute has largely been confined to heated exchanges fanned by nationalist media in both countries, although there were minor clashes, with troops barging into each other and throwing stones.

However, there appeared to be a breakthrough on Monday when the Indian foreign ministry said it had agreed to "disengagement" following diplomatic negotiations between Beijing and New Delhi.

"In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam," the ministry said in a statement.

"On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going," it said in a statement.


But although India suggested that both sides had agreed to pull back their troops, China’s foreign ministry said its troops would continue to operate in the area.

"China will continue to exercise sovereignty rights to protect territorial sovereignty in accordance with the rules of the historical boundary," spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

China and India fought a brief border war in 1962 and the two sides have been unable to settle their 3,500-km (2,175-mile) frontier and large parts of territory are claimed by both sides.

The area where Chinese troops started building the road overlooks a strategically important region of India known as the "Chicken’s neck" - a narrow stretch of territory leading to its remote north eastern states.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to travel to China for a summit of BRICS leaders next month.


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