(TibetanReview.net, Aug15, 2017) – Senior army officers from India and China held a flag meeting at the Nathu-La pass in Sikkim on Aug 11 to extensively discuss the nearly two-month-old Doklam standoff between the two countries. However, the “deliberations remained inconclusive”, reported India’s PTI news agency Aug 12, citing official sources.
The Indian participants in the Border Personnel Meeting (BPM), which was attended by Major General rank officers from the two sides, insisted that the faceoff could be resolved through simultaneous withdrawal of troops by both sides. But the meeting remained inconclusive because “the Chinese side insisted on withdrawal of Indian troops from Doklam immediately,” a senior Indian official was quoted as saying.
The Aug 11 meeting followed an equally fruitless one between brigade commanders of the two sides held on Aug 8.
The report said the BPM was launched by the two countries to sort out local issues and ensure peace and tranquility along the sensitive border. It said the two sides hold BPMs at five points, including the Daulat Beg Oldie in northern Ladakh, Kibithoo in Arunachal Pradesh, Chushul in Ladakh, Bum-La near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and Nathu-La in Sikkim.
The Doklam standoff began when Bhutan alerted India that the Chinese Army was building a road in its Doklam area, a development which is also seen as imposing a strategic threat to India. Indian troops entered the site to stop the road building work. China insists, however, that Doklam, which it calls Donglang, belongs to it and it was building road in its own territory.
Both Bhutan and India have accused China of violating agreements it had made separately with them by building the road. With Bhutan China had ongoing border discussions while India has conveyed to the Chinese government that the road construction would also represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for it.