China deploys 1,000 troops near Sikkim; builds road at Doklam Plateau

The issue began in June when Chinese forces were spotted constructing a road with heavy equipment in Doklam. Photo (PTI)
China has maintained a sizeable presence of its troops near the site of the Sikkim border standoff with India and even started building a road on the Doklam Plateau, just 10 km from the location of the last conflict. The Doklam Plateau is claimed by both Beijing and Bhutan as their territory. India backs Bhutan's claim.

 
Sources said China has been slowly increasing its troop level in the Doklam Plateau which could further escalate the current situation as India has reasons to be concerned over it.

Thwarted in its last attempt, China has now shifted its unused road construction material North and East of the face-off site. According to NDTV, the road construction workers brought into the area are accompanied by up to 500 soldiers. There is no indication that the soldiers will be permanently based in the area - the Chinese town of Yatung, said the report.

A The Indian Express report, however, said that 1,000 Chinese troops are still present on the plateau

An indication of tension between the two countries due to the presence of Chinese forces in the Chumbi Valley in the Doklam Plateau was also given by Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa on Thursday.

"The two sides are not in a physical face-off as we speak. However, their forces in Chumbi Valley are still deployed and I expect them to withdraw as their exercise in the area gets over," Dhanoa told reporters.

There has been territorial disputes between China and Bhutan over Doklam and India has been staunchly supporting Thimphu over the issue.

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam since June 16 after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam.

Bhutan and India were in touch with each other during the course of the face-off that ended on August 28.

Days after the face-off ended, Army Chief Bipin Rawat had said China has started "flexing its muscles" and warned that the situation in India's northern border could snowball into a larger conflict.

There are also reports that People's Liberation Army (PLA) has increased more troops on its forward post in Yatung.

Sources said though Chinese troops have been deployed in Doklam Plateau, they leave the area during winters.

But, there were indication that they may leave the areas this time, they added.

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