New Delhi, Jan 17: Months after Indian and Chinese troops disengaged after a standoff situation on the Doklam plateau of Bhutan, China is building a full-fledged military complex within the disputed region, show new satellite images accessed by various media houses. The new images indicate that China has almost completely taken control of the northern side of Doklam region.
The new satellite images of Doklam region show concrete Chinese posts, helipads, new trenches and several dozen armoured vehicles close to the point where the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops were locked in a 72-day standoff last year. Artillery guns are not visible in these images but there are points which are dug out and look like gun emplacements.
One of the images shows Chinese structure just 81 metres away from the Indian post of Doka la in Sikkim. Massive road construction and the presence of more than a hundred large troop/equipment-carrying vehicles are visible in these Google Earth images. Work is in progress to widen existing roads. In North Doklam, a large number of fighting posts have been created by Chinese forces.
The discovery comes days after Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat said that China continues to have troops in North Doklam but also added that the number of soldiers has reduced recently. Earlier, reports came that China has built several tunnels and barracks near the disputed area in Doklam. A 400-metre tall wall has also been built by Chinese forces to hide the rampant construction going on in Doklam, Zee News reported.
However, the Ministry of External Affairs had refuted such reports and said that there were no new developments at the face-off site in the Doklam plateau, since the August 28 disengagement. India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff at Doklam, an area claimed by both Bhutan and China. India had intervened on Bhutan’s behalf as Chinese building activities threatened ‘Chicken’s Neck’– a narrow strip of land connecting Indian mainland to its northeastern states.