Sikkim row: Indian Army not to retreat; set for long haul in Doklam

Age Correspondent With Agency Inputs

India, All India

Prepares for long haul near border, refuses to wilt under any pressure from China.

A steady line of supplies is being maintained for the soldiers at the site.

New Delhi: The Indian Army is ready for a long haul in holding on to its position in the Doklam area near the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction, notwithstanding China stepping up its rhetoric against India demanding pulling back of its troops.

The Indian soldiers deployed in the disputed area have pitched in tents, in an indication that they are unlikely to retreat unless there was reciprocity from China’s PLA personnel in ending the face-off at an altitude of around 10,000 feet in the Sikkim section.

A steady line of supplies is being maintained for the soldiers at the site, official sources were cited by news agencies as saying, signalling that the Indian Army is not going to wilt under any pressure from China.

At the same time they sounded confident of finding a diplomatic solution to the dispute, citing resolution of border skirmishes in the past through diplomacy.

Though China has been aggressively asserting that it was not ready for any “compromise” and that the “ball is in India’s court”, the view in the security establishment here is that there cannot be any unilateral approach in defusing the tension.

The Indian Army had last month made its first-ever military intervention of sorts on behalf of Bhutan by physically blocking Chinese troops from constructing a road in the Bhutanese “Doklam area” border territory near Indian border defences.

“On 16 June, a PLA construction party entered the Doklam area and attempted to construct a road. It is our understanding that a Royal Bhutan Army patrol attempted to dissuade them from this unilateral activity. The ambassador of the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGOB) has publicly stated that it lodged a protest with the Chinese government through their embassy in New Delhi on 20 June,” the ministry of external affairs (MEA) had earlier said.

“In keeping with their tradition of maintaining close consultation on matters of mutual interest, RGOB and the Government of India have been in continuous contact through the unfolding of these developments. In coordination with the RGOB, Indian personnel, who were present at general area Doka La (Sikkim), approached the Chinese construction party and urged them to desist from changing the status quo. These efforts continue,” the MEA had also earlier said.

“In this context, the Indian side has underlined that the two governments had in 2012 reached agreement that the tri-junction boundary points between India, China and third countries will be finalised in consultation with the concerned countries. Any attempt, therefore, to unilaterally determine tri-junction points is in violation of this understanding,” New Delhi had earlier said.