New Delhi: An aggressive stand-off with India at the Sikkim border, the Chinese army is back to building a road on the Doklam Plateau, just 10 km from the location of the last conflict which barely completed a month. India backing Bhutan’s claim that Doklam Plateau is claimed by both Beijing and Bhutan as their territory.
A thin strip that links India to its north-eastern states, to stop the road construction Indian soldiers crossed the Sikkim border to block Chinese road near the “Chicken’s Neck” in mid june.
Both sides of soldiers starring each other for 70 long days just 150 metres apart, the conflict, described as the worst in decades, subsided with both countries accepting that they were withdrawing their troops, though details were sketchy.
The officials in Delhi at the time said ” China pulled back its bulldozers and other road-making equipment.” While Chinese officers said the weather would be among the factors that would determine its plans for construction.”
China expanding its existing track, reinforcing its claim to the disputed and remote Doklam Plateau which is barely 10 kilometres from the location of the stand-off. The Chicken’s Neck, located just south of Doklam, India claimed that it will not tolerate any infrastructure that would allow China access to it.
In its last attempt, China has now shifted its unused road construction material North and East of the face-off site. 500 soldiers been accompanied with road construction workers for protection but no assurance that these soldiers been permanently based in that area. Meanwhile the Chinese town of Yatung, which is less than 20 km away as the crow flies, is a few hours by road and accommodates them. Neither there are places to accommodate the soldiers area which is snow-bound and bitterly cold in the winter.
According to NDTV reports, a top Army officer believes that this road is strong signal of Beijing’s intent to prove its territorial claims. A month ago, Army Chief Bipin Rawat had warned, “As far as the Northern adversary is concerned, flexing of muscles has started. Salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner, testing our limits or threshold is something we have to be wary about. Remain prepared for situations that are emerging gradually into conflict.”
The Army Chief referred to these renewed Chinese efforts despite the diminishing of the Doklam crisis which paved the way for the Prime Minister to travel to Xiamen for the BRICS summit last month.
The controversial road construction began after the crisis abate on august 28. Indian army on August 18 which dominates the area moved to Doklam Plateau from their base at the nearby Doka La (pass) and blocked the chinese way. China’s goal had been to extend the track south across the Torso Nallah to the Jhamperi Ridge, a dominant feature in the area where the Bhutanese Army has a base.
With PTI inputs