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China increases troop level, begins road expansion near last Dokalam stand-off area: Sources

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.

Published: 06th October 2017 01:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th October 2017 11:05 AM   |  A+A-

India and China have been locked in a face-off in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector for nearly eight weeks after Indian troops stopped the Chinese Army from building a road in the area. | AP File Photo

By PTI

NEW DELHI: China has maintained a sizeable presence of its troops near the site of the Dokalam standoff with India and even started widening an existing road which is at a distance of around 12 km from the area of conflict.

Sources said China has been slowly increasing its troop level in the Dokalam Plateau which could further escalate the current situation as India has reasons to be concerned over it. Media reports estimate that there are around 1,000 Chinese troops.

They said an existing road is also being strengthened in the Dokalam plateau, adding the road is at a distance of around 12 kms from the earlier face-off site.

An indication of tension between the two countries due to presence of Chinese forces in the Chumbi Valley in the Dokalam Plateau was also given by Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa today.

"The two sides are not in a physical face-off as we speak. However, their forces in Chumbi Valley are still deployed and I expect them to withdraw as their exercise in the area gets over," Dhanoa told reporters.

There has been territorial disputes between China and Bhutan over Dokalam and India has been staunchly supporting Thimphu over the issue.

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. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Dokalam.

Bhutan and India were in touch with each other during the course of the face-off that ended on August 28.

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.

There are also reports that People's Liberation Army (PLA) has increased more troops on its forward post in Yatung.

Sources said though Chinese troops have been deployed in Dokalam Plateau, they leave the area during winters.

But, there were indication that they may leave the areas this time, they added.



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