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Published On: Sat, Oct 7th, 2017

India says all well at Doklam; China justifies troop patrols

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NEW DELHI : The Congress has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “explain” to the nation what was happening at Doklam and state his government’s policy on the issue. Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at the prime minister, demanding an explanation about the new road construction being undertaken by China instead of continuing with his “chest thumping”.
Congress spokesperson Kapil Sibal asked PM Modi to explain his policy to deal with the issue and whether he intended to invite Chinese President Xi Jinping to Sabarmati again. The comments came a day after sources confirmed that China maintained a sizeable presence of troops near the site of the Doklam standoff with India and had now started widening a road, around 12 km from the area of conflict.
Meanwhile ,Congress Vice President  Gandhi tweeted, tagging an NDTV news report headlined, “With 500 Soldiers On Guard, China Expands Road In Doklam”. At the AICC briefing, Mr Sibal said, “You Please tell the country as to what is happening at the border, especially along the Dokalam plateau.”

Mr Sibal asked what was happening in Doklam today and said it is “very disappointing” that Prime Minister Modi met Chinese President Xi at the BRICS Summit and there was a lot of talk about the meeting that would help ease the border tension with China as Chinese troops had withdrawn and so had India, removed their equipment and this matter will not be escalated further.

“But what we are hearing now is that in the Doklam plateau near the trijunction and 10 km from the chicken neck, a new road is being constructed and the same equipment is being used there. Reports also say that some 500 to 1,000 Chinese soldiers are also deployed there,” he said. The Congress leader also referrd to the statement of Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat who said that the Chinese will be doing excursions and “we should be ready for that”. Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day standoff in Dokalam that began from June 16 over road construction activity at the India-Bhutan-China trijunction.
The Congress, in an article put out on its website, also said that the fresh Doklam development underscores that deft diplomacy was not practiced and requires an explanation from the government. “In the absence of the NDA government not clarifying particulars as to the de-escalation, this fresh development looks alarming and underscores that deft diplomacy was not practiced,” the article stated.

It said that Indian surveillance has reportedly detected new bunkers, and some road re-laying has also been done in the vicinity.  The Congress said it is widely evident that a build-up of roads and bunkers is a step towards China’s stated goal to “exercise its sovereign rights” in the region.

The Congress article said in September, China also opened a strategic highway to Nepal via Tibet and China’s state-run Global Times alarmingly stated that this highway is just a “forerunner” to a railway link.
The government on Friday said reports of China increasing the number of its troops or constructing a road at Doklam were incorrect. The clarification came after reports emerged that China has maintained a sizeable troop presence near the site of the Sikkim border standoff with India and has even started building a road on the Doklam Plateau, just 10 km from the location of the last conflict.

” Responding to reports of Chinese troop presence near Doklam and road construction activity,spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a press statement: “We have seen recent reports on Doklam. There are no new developments at the face-off site and its vicinity since the 28th August disengagement. The status quo prevails in this area. Any suggestion to the contrary is incorrect.

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. An agency report from Beijing suggested that Chinese troops were very much present near Doklam. China not only defended the presence of its troops in the area but reiterated its sovereignty over it.
Bhutan and India dispute Chinese claims on the area and consider it Bhutanese territory. “The Donglang (Doklam) area has always belonged to China and has been under the effective jurisdiction of China,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry told PTI in Beijing in response to questions about a report that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is beefing up troops in the area.

 

 

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