China building up military capability near Doklam, including with winter dig-in

December 17, 2017 9:55 pm0 commentsViews: 102

India China and Doklam(TibetanReview.net, Dec17, 2017) – While suggesting that India treat its bilateral relations with it from long-term perspective with a global vision and asking it not to be bogged down by some specific bilateral issues, China has been busy building up its military forces near the Doklam plateau, the site of a protracted June-Aug stand-off between the two sides, according to Indian media reports Dec 14, citing satellite pictures. Analysts have been cited as suggesting the development would allow China to tighten its control of its borders and prepare for any future problems in the region.

In this connection, China is said to be also improving its military infrastructure, including with new mortar and gun positions, at a site between five and 10km from the site of this summer’s 73-day stand-off, with Indian media reports citing satellite imagery acquired on Dec 3.

The images are also said to show the presence of at least nine three-storey buildings and almost 300 large vehicles, suggesting the stationing of almost a whole troop division in Yadong County in Tibet.

China is also stated to have deployed troops 50km further away in the Chumbi Valley, where the borders of India, China and Bhutan meet, reported the Indian news portal ThePrint.

On Dec 10, The Times of India reported that China had permanently stationed up to 1,800 troops in Doklam, near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction, apparently to stay there for the whole of the winter. It also said China had built two helipads and installed scores of pre-fabricated huts, shelters and stores there, adding that existing roads had been relaid.

The troops may have stepped back after the summer standoff, but the China-India dispute in the Himalayas is obviously far from over. Although the build-up has not spilt over to other territories, another stand-off in Doklam could not be ruled out, the scmp.com Dec 14 cited observers as saying.

The Doklam standoff had ended when Indian troops retreated and China stopped the road building that had triggered the dispute. But China was obviously not at all happy with the settlement and its official media only reported about India having withdrawn from the site while suggesting it was still maintaining its presence at Doklam.

Meanwhile, Lt Gen Abhay Krishna, India’s General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command has on Dec 16 said India was totally geared up to face any situation in the Doklam sector. While refusing to name anyone specifically, he has said the Indian Army was in high spirits and ready to take on any mischief. “We are totally prepared, geared up; let anybody do any mischief and he will get it back nice and proper,” India’s PTI news agency quoted him as saying.

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