India-China pullback: what happened behind the scenes

India-China pullback: what happened behind the scenes
New Delhi The end of a 20-day face-off with China in Ladakh came after intense diplomatic pressure, including the threat that India was willing to scale down its relations with its neighbour if the latter did not withdraw a platoon camped on Indian territory since April 15.

The Chinese were reportedly told that New Delhi might cancel External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's visit to Beijing beginning May 9, which would cast a shadow on the visit of Chinese Premier Le Keqiang to New Delhi on May 20.

The two countries do trade of at least $90-100 billion (Rs 5,41,300 crore) a year.

Sources said what might have also worked is an assurance that India would suspend the construction of new bunkers in the Chumar sector of south-east Ladakh, about 175-odd km from Raki Nalla, where the Chinese troops had camped.


India began constructing seven bunkers in Chumar, which is also considered disputed territory, in April this year. The Chinese reportedly objected as a 2005 border protocol agreement between the two sides allow neither to construct any permanent structure. India has already reportedly constructed one bunker.

The Chinese, sources said, had also objected to aggressive patrolling by the Indian Army which is believed to have cut off the access routes of the Chinese patrols in this sector.

Government sources have insisted that India struck no deal with and gave no concession to Beijing to resolve the border crisis.

"The assurance of suspending, for the time being, construction in Chumar doesn't qualify as a concession to China since both countries have agreed not to construct in the disputed areas," a senior Ministry of Defence official told NDTV.

New Delhi is now keen to renegotiate the 2005 agreement to allow India some room to develop infrastructure.

Yesterday's breakthrough came after the fourth flag meeting between the two countries; they agreed to go back to their positions before April 15. For India, this will mean moving from its temporary camp put up just 500 metres away from where Chinese troops were stationed.

The Chinese have withdrawn from Raki Nalla, 30 km south of Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), an advanced landing ground built by India in north Ladakh. DBO overlooks the Karakoram Pass and the crucial Karakoram Highway that connects China and Pakistan.
Story First Published: May 06, 2013 17:20 IST

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