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India Deploys More Troops Along China Border, Air Force on Alert in North East

The Major General-level talks between Indian and China at the BMP post in Nathu la remained inconclusive as anticipated. China was adamant that India withdraw its troops from Doklam while India wanted China to clear road building equipment from the area.

Shreya Dhoundial | CNN-News18

Updated:August 12, 2017, 7:40 PM IST
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India Deploys More Troops Along China Border, Air Force on Alert in North East
Photo for representation only (Getty Images)
New Delhi: India has quickly moved in more troops all along the border with China and put the Air Force on operational alert in the North East as the standoff over Doklam worsened, sources said on Friday.

The 3,488-km long border stretching across five states — Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand — is being closely monitored as Beijing amped up its rhetoric on the contentious border point where the two armies stand face to face.

"Things are on the move," a top source in the government told CNN-News18.

This came on a day when talks between the two countries held at the Major General level at the BMP post in Nathu La remained inconclusive, as anticipated. China was adamant that India withdraw its troops from Doklam while India wanted China to clear road-building equipment from the area.

News18 had reported on Friday ahead of the meeting on the troop and armament build-up along the border.

The Sukna-based 33 Corps has advanced its annual war exercise operation alert by six weeks to ensure that its troops are acclimatised in case a skirmish breaks out.

The movement is a comprehensive one that includes both men and required armament.

The 4 Corps based in Tezpur and 3 Corps based in Dimapur have been put on alert as well. Soldiers and armaments are on the move to their operational areas. All three corps together man the area from the Siliguri Corridor to the end of Arunachal Pradesh, which is roughly 1,400 km. The troop enhancement comes amid growing sabre rattling from China.

"So far, the only war that is being fought is through Global Times. There is so much rhetoric from the Chinese side so it is best if we show some caution," said a senior source in the government.

Officials have refused to put a figure to the troop strength or types of arms that are being "trickled up" along the eastern theater.

A PTI report has quoted experts to say that roughly 45,000 troops, including personnel having completed the weather acclimatisation process, are normally kept ready along the border, but not all are necessarily deployed.

The Doklam plateau is located at a height of 11,000 feet. The ridges around it go up to a height of 14,000 feet. In case of a skirmish, India needs troops that are acclimatised to operate at these levels. The acclimatisation exercise is conducted in two stages over a period of 10 days.

India continues to be in a 'no war, no peace’ mode at the Line of Actual Control. This means that India’s caution levels are high, but not high enough to raise the hackles on the other side.

"India and China are nuclear nations. Eyes are being shown from their side, we need to be prepared," says a senior officer.

Officers CNN-NEWS18 spoke to refused to be quoted.

At the site of the standoff, 250 to 350 Indian troops continue to hold their position. On the other side, around 350 PLA soldiers are standing their ground.

Meanwhile, the Army has denied reports of any village being evacuated in the Doklam Plateau. But villagers in Nathang, around 35 km from the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction, said that they have been advised to move out.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to China for the BRICS Summit on September 3. Any major development in the border situation is likely only after that.

For the moment, the Indian Army is preparing for the long haul.
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