Army Chief in Sikkim amid tension
30 Jun 2017 - 0:49
Gangtok: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat (pictured) yesterday arrived in Sikkim to take stock of the security scenario amid a stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops along the border in the area. Informed sources said the Army chief was briefed about the security situation and the stand-off. He also visited areas under the 17th Mountain Division.
Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel breached the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Sikkim sector and destroyed two makeshift Indian Army bunkers earlier this month in Lalten area of Doka La sector.
The Chinese Defence Ministry confirmed the border trouble but accused Indian troops of crossing the boundary into China “in an attempt to prevent a road construction” by the Chinese side.
The Defence Ministry and Army have made no official comment on the incident yet.
Doka La is located in the Chumbi valley, and the area where the aggression took place is not far from the corridor of rail and road that connects to northeastern India. Also close to the area, Bhutan and China have a border issue along Tibet. China is at present extending a rail line close the border here.
The Defence Ministry, for a long time has been maintaining that there are no transgressions along the India-China border and the issue is of different perceptions of the boundary. The Defence Minister has repeated the line several times, including in answers to Parliament questions, in response to queries about Chinese transgression in the Indian side.
In reaction to the border face-off, China has refused to let the first batch of around 50 Indian pilgrims, who were supposed to travel to Kailash Mansarovar Lake in Tibet, go through the Nathu La route. The development comes amid bilateral tensions over various issues, including India boycotting the One Belt One Road summit in Beijing and China scuttling India’s NSG bid.
Gen Rawat will return to Delhi on Friday. The visit took place on a day China alluded to India’s military defeat in 1962 and asked New Delhi to withdraw troops from “Chinese territory”. India and China have accused other’s troops of crossing their border.