New Delhi, Jan 18: Indian Army has been keeping a close watch on the presence of the Chinese troops and their construction activities in the disputed Doklam region near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet trijunction. The Army, according to the reports, believes that People’s Liberation Army (PLA) may return in large numbers in the Doklam region once the winter is over.
“They have built infrastructure for it in north Doklam (separated from south Doklam by the Torsa Nala rivulet). But our troops, atop the watershed that dominates Doklam, are much better placed in terms of terrain. We are in a wait-and-watch mode, prepared for any eventuality,” an official was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
The Indian troops, however, would also step back in, like they did in June 2017, if the PLA tries to disrupt the status quo. In June 2017, the Chinese troops had tried to extend its existing road in the south Doklam. Reports have it that there are nearly 1600 Chinese troops stationed near the Doklam area. (Also Read: 800-900 Chinese PLA Soldiers Still Hold Position Near Face-off Site)
Gen Bipin Rawat said, “The PLA soldiers are (still) there in a part of the area (north Doklam), although not in numbers that we saw them in initially. They have carried out some infrastructure development which is mostly temporary in nature. But we are also there. So, in case they come, we will face them.” (Also Read: Four Months After Doklam Standoff, Chinese Road-building Team Enters Arunachal Pradesh)
Gen Rawat also said that the bonhomie between India and China “has returned to what was there prior to Doklam. So, I don’t visualise very serious trouble, but then one has to be prepared for it always.” The Army chief added that bilateral mechanisms between the two countries have been “working well”.
Earlier on Wednesday (January 17), a report said that China has been building a full-fledged military complex within the disputed region. The new satellite images indicated that China has completely taken over the northern side of Doklam region.
The satellite imageries also showed “Chinese posts, helipads, massive road construction, new trenches, and a hundred large troop/equipment-carrying vehicles” close to the Doklam standoff area. In fact, one of the images showed a Chinese structure just 81 metres away from the Indian post of Doka la in Sikkim.