New Delhi: One-and-a-half years after standoff between troops of India and China, over the latter’s perceived intrusion in Bhutanese territory of Doklam, Chinese forces are reported to have transgressed another section of their border with Bhutan near Doklam.
According to sources, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was reported to have transgressed over to the Bhutanese side in the Charithang Valley late last year. The Indian security establishment has conducted a meeting to discuss the consequences of this situation.
It was a similar transgression and construction by PLA troops in Doklam which had prompted the Indian troops stationed in the Himalayan nation to intervene, leading to a 73-day standoff between the two armies.
The reported transgression by PLA has happened at a time when China and Bhutan are engaged in border dispute talks to iron out differences between the two countries over their claims on territories particularly in Western Bhutan in Doklam, Charithang, Dramana and Sinchulun.
Sources told News18 that Indian security agencies held a meeting to discuss the issue in December.
Chinese troops are understood to be aggressively building an ‘all weather’ road connecting Doklam to their network of highways, to allow quick deployment of troops.
News18 had earlier this year, based on a similar intel input, reported about Chinese road construction activity on the 12-km long stretch from Yatung, a forward military base in China to Doklam going on in an area called Merug La.
In a recent interview with a news magazine, the Indian army chief, General Bipin Rawat, when asked about PLA infrastructure work in Doklam, claimed that the Indian forces were also building roads in the area.
“We are also building roads. We could not do it some years ago. But now we have decided to prioritise it. We have enhanced our military-to-military engagement with the PLA. We just had the Hand-in-Hand joint military exercise in China. Things have changed after Doklam in a positive way,” The Week quoted Gen Rawat.
According to sources, a 4.9-km long road has also been constructed from Sinchel La in the direction of Torsa Nala via Assam. Torsa Nala is the base of Doklam plateau. The apparent motive of the Chinese being to construct an ‘all-weather’ road connecting Sinchel La.
Apart from the road, the intelligence inputs clearly mark parking bays, helipads, communication trenches and pre-fab structures that have come up on multiple locations on the Doklam plateau over the past one year.
Approximately 150 tents or pre-fab structures have been put up by the Chinese on the Doklam plateau on which between 60-70 vehicles have been seen.
At other points between Sinchel La to Doklam via Asam, too construction activities have been seen, suggesting that road construction could be going on simultaneously on multiple locations in an effort to build the road quickly.
In January 2018, several media reports had highlighted a massive construction work by Chinese of a full-fledged military complex near the disputed plateau area. These reports went on to state that the Chinese were preparing themselves for another Doklam style face-off.