Doklam issue : India enhances troop presence along border in Sikkim, Arunachal

New Delhi : In a significant development, India on Friday enhanced the troop level along the entire stretch of its border with China in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, government officials told PTI.

The officials further added that that ‘caution level’ has also been raised among the troops in the eastern sector.

The decision to increase the deployment along the nearly 1,400-km Sino-India border from Sikkim to Arunachal Pradesh was taken after carrying out a detailed analysis of the situation and considering China’s aggressive posturing against India on Dokalam, the officials said.

“The troop level along the border with China in the Sikkim and Arunachal sectors has been increased,” said the officials on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

The Army’s Sukna-based 33 Corps as well as 3 and 4 corps based in Arunachal and Assam are tasked to protect the sensitive Sino-India border in the eastern theatre.

The officials declined to give any figure or percentage of increased deployment, saying they cannot disclose “operational details.”

According to defence experts, roughly 45,000 troops including personnel having completed the weather acclimatisation process are normally kept ready along the border at any given time, but not all are necessarily deployed.

The soldiers, deployed over 9,000 feet, have to go through a 14-day-long acclimatisation process.

The officials, however, said there is no enhancement of troops at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction in Dokalam where around 350 army personnel are holding on to their position for nearly eight weeks after stopping Chinese troops from constructing a road on June 16.

Bhutan and China have competing claims over Dokalam, and are negotiating a resolution.

China has been ramping up rhetoric against India over the last few weeks, demanding immediate withdrawal of Indian troops from Dokalam. The Chinese state media, particularly, has carried a barrage of critical articles on the Dokalam stand-off slamming India.

Earlier today, Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley assured the Lok Sabha that Indian armed forces are prepared to face any eventuality, in the wake of Doklam standoff.

In response to a question on reports of troop movements in Tibet by China amid the on-going Doklam standoff and a senior Army officer’s statement that Pakistan’s defence industry was better than India’s, Jaitley said the armed forces have adequate defence equipment to tackle any exigency.

“Our defence forces are ready to take on any eventuality,” he said without making any specific reference to Doklam.

Replying to a question on a CAG report which had recently flagged that the Indian Army was facing a critical shortage of ammunition that can last just 10 days of war, the Defence Minister said significant progress has been made on this front thereafter, but did not elaborate, adding that “Nobody should have a doubt on that.”

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj recently said both sides should first pull back their troops for any talks to take place, and favoured a peaceful resolution of the border standoff.

India also conveyed to the Chinese government that the road construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for it.

Source : Zee News

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