Amidst media reports about China’s stepped-up activities in the Doklam plateau, India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is currently on a visit to the country’s Northeastern states to review defence preparedness along the volatile border.
China and India had disengaged troops ahead of the BRICS summit after the 73-day long standoff between their troops on the Doklam plateau, along the China-India-Bhutan tri-junction.
Reacting to reports about China widening the contentious road construction in Doklam, India had clarified that a status quo is prevailing in the contested area. “There are no new developments at the face-off site and its vicinity since the August 28 disengagement. The status-quo prevails in this area. Any suggestion to the contrary is incorrect,” said India’s external affairs ministry’s spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. The new road construction undertaken by China is, however, away from the face-off site that overlooked the strategically important Siliguri Corridor.
India and China are both maintaining a stable number of troops in the area, who are keeping a watchful eye on each other’s movements. Against the backdrop of potential Chinese misadventure, Mrs. Sitharaman will receive a briefing at the headquarters of 17 Mountain Division at Gangtok and will be interacting with troops at the Nathu-La and other border outposts with Army vice-chief Lt General Sarath Chand. She is also expected to undertake aerial reconnaissance of the forward areas near the tri-junction.
Her visit will be followed by the Army commanders’ conference, to be chaired by General Bipin Rawat from October 9 to 15 in New Delhi. In the wake of apprehensions about any surprise emergency, the military top brass is expected to review troop deployment along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control with China, stretching from LAC from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh,
China has repeatedly underlined its claim of territorial sovereignty in the region. “The Donglang (Doka La) area has always belonged to China and has been under the effective jurisdiction of China”, Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a recent statement.
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