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China begins withdrawal of troops ending one-week standoff

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the banquet hosted in honour of the Chinese President, Mr. Xi Jinping and the First Lady of the Republic of China, Ms. Peng Liyuan by President, Pranab Mukherjee,  at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on September 18, 2014. (PIB Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the banquet hosted in honour of the Chinese President, Mr. Xi Jinping and the First Lady of the Republic of China, Ms. Peng Liyuan by President, Pranab Mukherjee, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on September 18, 2014. (PIB Photo)

What began last week as another serious standoff between India and China with Chinese road-building workers with PLA cover barged the Indian territory and insisting they have orders to build a road 5-km inside India evoking strong protests from New Delhi with the Chinese envoy in New Delhi on Thursday finally paid off.

Indian External affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the issue was resolved and the workers and troops will withdraw from today, Friday, and the process be completed by September 30. “I am happy to tell you that both nations have sat down and resolved the (border standoff) issue. Timelines have been decided,” Swaraj told Indian reporters in New York where she is attending the ongoing UN General Assembly session.

The standoff is an age-old diplomatic move by China every time its state dignitaries visit India or when Indian leaders visit China aimed at circumventing major bilateral issues and confine the agenda to immediate troops movement or encroachments. Accordingly, the standoff coincided with the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jingping’s visit to New Delhi last week thus taking away focus from the bigger agenda to smaller border movements, besides throwing a “shadow” on bilateral ties.

The standoff between Indian and Chinese armies took place in Chumar region in Ladakh on Sunday as Chinese roadworks men crossed into the Indian side and also claimed that they had orders to build a road up to Tible, 5-km deep inside Indian territory.

Swaraj said the status quo as of September 1 will be restored now. “The bad phase will end and by September 30th, the withdrawal of troops will be completed. I talked about this with the Chinese Foreign Minister. I believe this is a big accomplishment,” she told reporters.

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