China builds up presence at Doklam, army chief Gen Rawat says it is temporary
Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday that the Chinese military has carried out a “mostly temporary” buildup in Doklam, the site of a tense standoff between the two countries last summer, even as media reports cited new satellite images to say that the infrastructure included a “full-fledged” military base.
“They have carried out some infrastructure development, most of it is temporary in nature. But while their troops may have returned and the infrastructure remains, it is anybody’s guess whether they would come back there, or it is because of the winter they could not take their equipment away,” Rawat said during a session in the multi-lateral ‘Raisina Dialogue’.
He added that the Indian army does not visualise serious trouble, “but then one has to be prepared for it.”
NDTV and ThePrint reported that satellite pictures taken on December 10, 2017 — roughly three-and-a-half months after India and China agreed to end their stand-off — showed new helipads, trenches and construction work at the Doklam plateau.
ThePrint described one of the constructions as “concrete” and said that there was at least one complete mechanised regiment deployed. According to NDTV, the build-up was at two locations at the Doklam plateau and one of them was “a massive, full-fledged Chinese military complex”.
Rawat said that Indian and Chinese troops now have a mechanism to effectively address their issues.
“After the Dolam incident...we have started our border personnel meeting. We are meeting regularly, exchanges are taking place, communications between the commanders at the ground level is on and the bonhomie has returned which was prior to the Dolam (incident),” he said.
Last week, Rawat had said that India should shift its focus from the border with Pakistan to the boundary with China, portions of which remain unmarked.
“The time has come for India to shift focus to its northern border. The country is capable of handling China’s assertiveness… China is a powerful country but we are not a weak nation,” the army chief had said at a press conference in New Delhi on Friday.
With PTI inputs
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