NEW DELHI: As the tension at the border with China continues in Sikkim, Indian army has asked district administration to evacuate local villagers close to the faceoff site. Though sources in the army calling the move as ‘precautionary’ but it is also seen as army’s preparation to take on any eventuality.
Sources said over 100 local residents of Nathang village, which is close to the Dokalam, the tri-junction between India-Bhutan-China, have been asked to vacate and to move to safer locations, in order to avoid any civilian casualties if situation escalates to a short war or may be a skirmish. The Nathang village is located 35 km away from Doklam in Sikkim sector.
Moreover, Army has also issued an Operational Alert for its formations guarding the area. Sukma based 33 Corps, which looks after Sikkim has advanced its annual training exercise, which including stocking of ration for winter, familiarising troops to the new area by acclimatization at higher altitude. However, the Indian Army has called the troop movement in the area a regular maintenance move.
China has been sending warning signals to India along with consolidating its presence close to the faceoff site. In fact on Wednesday, China Daily warned that ‘the countdown to a clash between the two forces has begun’.
China has been insisting that India withdraws its troops from Doklam where both sides have been locked in a nearly two-month stand-off. On the other hand, the New Delhi is for a simultaneous withdrawal from Doklam, which, it says, belongs to its other neighbour Bhutan.
State run Global Times, by quoting the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said that at nearly ’53 people and a bulldozer from the Indian side remain in Chinese territory as of Monday’. The ministry said: “India should withdraw its troops and equipment. Regardless of how many Indian troops have trespassed into and stayed in Chinese territory, they have gravely infringed on China’s sovereignty.”
India has been maintaining to solve the issue diplomatically. War is not a solution and India would resolve the standoff with China through dialogue, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said in Parliament last week. But China has not budged from its stand that India must unilaterally withdraw its troops from Doklam.