The ongoing troop face-off between India and China on the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction has emerged as the biggest such confrontation in the region in decades, with both sides continuing to pump in reinforcements. “Both sides are as yet not willing to budge from their positions," a source said.
NEW DELHI: The ongoing troop face-off between India and China on the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction has emerged as the biggest such confrontation in the region in decades, with both sides continuing to pump in reinforcements to the remote border region.
Even as Army chief General Bipin Rawat reviewed the ground situation by visiting the headquarters of the 17 Mountain Division in Gangtok and 27 Mountain Division in Kalimpong on Thursday, sources said the two rival armies had strengthened their positions at the tri-junction by deploying around 3,000 troops each in a virtually eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation.
The Indian Army, on its part, refused to say anything. But sources said though there had been other troop standoffs at the tri-junction over the years, the latest one at the Doka La general area was clearly the most serious.
"Both sides are as yet not willing to budge from their positions. Flag meetings and other talks between the rival commanders have not worked till now," a source said.
During his visit, General Rawat especially concentrated on the deployments of the 17 Division, which is responsible for the defence of eastern Sikkim with four brigades (each with over 3,000 soldiers) under its command.
"All top officers, including the 33 Corps and 17 Division commanders, were present during the extensive discussions. The chief will return to New Delhi on Friday morning," the source said.
Undeterred by Beijing's aggressive posturing, India has made it clear that it will not allow China to construct a motorable road till the tri-junction through the Bhutanese territory of Doklam plateau, as earlier reported by TOI.
Bhutan, too, has issued a demarche to China over the construction of the road towards its army camp at Zomplri in the Doklam plateau, asking Beijing to restore status quo by stopping work immediately.
"China is trying to build a 'Class-40 road' in the Doklam plateau that can take the weight of military vehicles weighing up to 40 tonnes, which include light battle tanks, artillery guns and the like," the source said.