Doklam issue: China says troops in area as always, India says status quo remains
China on Friday reacted to media reports about the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) widening a road near the site of a recent standoff with India by stating that its troops patrol the Donglang or Doklam region to protect the country’s territorial rights.
The foreign ministry contended that Doklam had always been under China’s control.
“The Chinese border defence troops have always been patrolling in Donglang district to protect the territorial rights, according to relevant border treaties and agreements,” the foreign ministry said in statement.
“There is no dispute that Donglang (Doklam) is always part of China’s territory and is always under China’s effective and valid administration,” it added.
In New Delhi, the external affairs ministry said status quo prevailed in the Doklam region and there had been “no new developments at the face-off site and its vicinity since the 28th August disengagement”.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted the statement in response to the media reports. Any suggestions about activity in the area were “incorrect”, he added.
The Donglang region, near the Sikkim border, is under China’s control but claimed by Bhutan.
Indian Army sources told Hindustan Times that the PLA had begun working on a road about 12 km from the site where the two armies were locked in a tense standoff for 73 days.
The face-off was resolved on August 28, when both sides pulled back their troops and China stopped the construction of a road to which New Delhi had objected.
The India Army sources further said the road being widened is in Chumbi valley but added the area was under Chinese control and the development did not have strategic implications for India. Around 500 Chinese soldiers are present in the area where the construction work is being carried out.
Indian Air Force chief BS Dhanoa too said in New Delhi on Thursday that Chinese troops were stationed in Chumbi valley and he hoped they would go back soon.