Doval, Gokhale, the men who told China to back off from Doklam
India managed to find a solution and put an end to the tense Doklam standoff with China. Several officials worked tirelessly to ensure that the issue did not go out of hand. While the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi personally oversaw the deliberations, it was the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval and senior diplomat Vijay Gokhale who led the talks.
Gokhale, the ambassador to China played a key role in resolving the crisis. A 1981 IFS batch officer, Gokhale along with Doval stayed in touch with the envoys from China to find a resolution.
The NSA and the Chinese state councillor, Yang Jiechi are the special representatives of the two governments for boundary negotiations. Since the standoff began in June, China told India that the issue would not fall within the purview of the special representatives.
When the talks began, China said that the Sikkim section of the boundary was a settled issue. Only negotiate on the disputed portion, China also said.
Both Doval and Gokhale made it clear to China that the status of Sikkim as an integral part of India was a settled issue.
While Doval set the tone for the talks, Gokhale kept in touch with the Chinese foreign ministry officials in Beijing. He stayed in touch with Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. Apart from negotiating in China, Gokhale and Jaishankar also reached out to US and Japan and explained India's stand on the issue. Both the US and Japan backed India's stand which built up the pressure on China.
Doval during his meeting with Jiechi said that the issue had to be resolved. The troops had to be pulled back. Moreover Doval also had an assurance from the Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat that they were ready. When China made it clear that Doklam did not belong to India, Doval refused to acknowledge that. He also shot back by saying, ' every disputed territory does not become China's by default." He finally managed to get the Chinese to pull out of Doklam.