Chinese troop’s presence continues near Doklam

Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat.(File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi,   Despite extreme cold conditions, Chinese troops continue to be present close to the Doklam plateau, though the numbers have gone down over last couple of months, informed sources said on Tuesday.

According to government sources, around 800-900 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops are stationed in the Chinese territory close to the standoff area. The area had over 1300 soldiers positioned earlier.

Army chief General Bipin Rawat had also said on Monday that the number of troops across the border near Doklam had gone down.

China attempted to build a road in territory claimed by Bhutan in June but was stopped by India, resulting in a 73-day stand-off in the Sikkim section of Sino-Indian border.

The stand-off started on June 16 and both sides announced disengagement on August 28.

The standoff had led to tension between the two nuclear-armed nations, and during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in December, India had stressed on peace along the India-China border as a pre-requisite for strong bilateral relations.

Wang had also admitted that the standoff had put a “severe” strain on bilateral ties.

In December, India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Chinese State Councillor and Member of Central Committee of Politburo of the Communist Party of China Yang Jiechi held the 20th Meeting of Special Representatives of India and China on border issues.

The two sides later called the talks “positive and focused” and also agreed to seek “mutually acceptable resolutions of their differences with due respect for each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations”.