Army Chief General Bipin Rawat in Sikkim amid India-China border face-off

According to sources, the Army chief will review the security situation, and may also visit some forward areas.

Published: 29th June 2017 07:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th June 2017 09:55 PM   |  A+A-

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat (File| PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: As the stand-off continues with Indian Army and Chinese PLA over the construction of a road in Sikkim in a disputed area, Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat on Thursday made a visit to the Indian army’s formation headquarters of the force in North Sikkim. General Rawat, who is on a two-day visit to the area to get a ground report on the situation was briefed by top commanders about the entire security situation.

But, China, who has been very aggressive on the issue, has further hardened its position by warning that the Indian Army should learn "historical lessons", in an oblique reference to the 1962 war.

Referring to Gen. Rawat's comments earlier this month that India is ready for a "two-and-a-half front war", the Chinese military today rejected the remarks as "extremely irresponsible" asking him to "stop clamouring for war".

The Army has rushed more reinforcements to the face-off site in the Doka La area of Sikkim.  Doka La is at the tri-junction of Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet and is strategically important for India as the crucial Siliguri corridor known in military parlance as Chicken Neck having road and rail head is just 50 to 60 kms from there.

Sources said that army has reservations over China making road upto Dolam, basically the buffer region leading to Chicken Neck Siliguri circuit would be dissolved. The Indian Army had blocked construction of the road by China in Donglong, a disputed territory between China and Bhutan.

Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.

Official sources said China had removed an old bunker of the Indian Army in Donglong by using a bulldozer after the Indian side refused to accede to its request, which triggered the face-off.

 A meeting between the local commanders of both the armies on June 20 to resolve the issue failed.  Senior officers of 17 Division of the Indian Army responsible this sector are now camping near the site to monitor the situation, sources said.

Amid the tense situation, China today asked India to withdraw its troops from the Donglong area in Sikkim sector as a precondition for a "meaningful dialogue" to settle the boundary issue, warning that the Indian Army should learn "historical lessons".

In an unprecedented action, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, in Beijing, displayed a photograph of Indian "incursion" into Donglong area and said the dispute which is becoming a confrontation of sorts between the troops can only be settled by the withdrawal of Indian soldiers from the area.

The People's Liberation Army spokesman also accused Indian troops of entering the Chinese side in Donglong area in Sikkim sector.

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