Status-quo at Dokalam, says MEA rejecting reports of fresh Chinese build-up

RSTV Bureau
Graphic representation of the location of the stand off between Indian Army and PLA near Sikkim border.

Graphic representation of the location of the stand off between Indian Army and PLA near Sikkim border.

The external affairs ministry has rejected reports of any fresh Chinese build-up at the Dokalam sector, the tri-junction plateau which witnessed intense stand-off between Indian Army and China’s PLA recently. The ministry, in its official briefing, said there are no new developments at the India-China at the site and its vicinity since the August 28 disengagement.

“The status quo prevails in this area. Any suggestion to the contrary is incorrect,” the ministry said in a brief statement.

On Thursday, there were reports of China maintaining a sizeable presence of its troops near the site of the Dokalam standoff. Quoting sources, the report also said that Chinese establishment has even started widening an existing road which is at a distance of around 12 km from the area of conflict.

Earlier, the troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Dokalam since June 16 after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army.

Days after the face-off ended, Army Chief Bipin Rawat had said China has started “flexing its muscles” and warned that the situation in India’s northern border could snowball into a larger conflict.

China, on the other hand, defended the presence of its troops in the Dokalam area, over a month after the standoff with India ended, saying its soldiers are patrolling the region, also claimed by Bhutan, to exercise Beijing’s sovereignty.

“The Donglang (Doklam) area has always belonged to China and has been under the effective jurisdiction of China,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry told news agency PTI here in response to questions about a report that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is beefing up troops in the area.

“There is no dispute. The Chinese border forces have been patrolling in the area of Donglang, exercising their sovereign rights and safeguarding territorial sovereignty according to the historical boundary,” the ministry said in a written response.

(With inputs from PTI)