May 6 – After various rounds of heated discussions and a 20-day standoff, the Chinese battalion that set up camp near the line of actual control (LAC) 19 kilometers into the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector of Ladakh, India, has withdrawn and pulled out of India. Both sides withdrew and returned to their respective pre-incursion positions after a resolution was decided late Sunday evening.
An official source added that the conflict was resolved by way of: “Intensive diplomatic contacts led by Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, [who coordinated] with military authorities and Ambassador Jai Shankar in Beijing, which led to flag meetings in which the situation was resolved.”
Prior to the withdrawal, the Chinese were allegedly assured by India that their concerns over Indian border fortifications would be taken up at the highest level.
Though the Chinese troops’ withdrawal ended the stand-off in Ladakh, the Sino-Indian boundary dispute will now likely be given higher priority in the upcoming bilateral engagement during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit than it would have ordinarily. Further, this retreat paves the way for the Foreign Ministerial meeting to be held as planned on May 9 between the two countries in Beijing. Another meeting is planned to take place in Delhi on May 20.
India’s security assessment has been that the Chinese incursion, which flowed over the LAC, was essentially to flag the border demarcation issue and to force India to move beyond brushing aside each incursion as a “difference of perception between India and China over the LAC.” The Chinese troops’ unprecedented act of pitching tents and staying put for days together at the point of incursion, rather than following the proper border protocol of retreating soon after Indian border troops raise a banner, was possibly to make a point that the time to address the border row is now.
Rigzin Spalbar, chief executive councilor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh, confirmed: “I have learnt that China has withdrawn its troops. They had to withdraw. This is our country’s success; Indian diplomacy has won.”
Despite the withdrawal, China still believes that its troops had not crossed into Indian Territory with the establishment of their camp.