Beijing: China on Thursday indicated at maintaining a sizeable presence of its military troops near the area of Doklam standoff during winters, pronouncing that the region is in its territory.
The Doklam standoff between New Delhi and Beijing was called off after 73 days on August 28 after numerous talks between the officials of both sides and after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) stopped the construction of roads close to Chicken Neck area of India that connects to the Borth-Eastern states. Bhutan also claimed that Doklam comes under its territory.
India launches work on all-weather road that would make access to China border easier. India had objected to building of strategic roads by PLA and said that the move endangered the security of the narrow corridor.
In the past, both India and China used to withdraw troops from the advanced regions of that area during the winter season, according to official accounts.
“Donglong (Dokalam) is Chinese territory,” Col Wu Qian, spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Defence said yesterday when asked about reports that PLA continues to maintain a sizable number of troops close to the Dokalam standoff area and doing away with the practice of vacating the place during winter.
“Based on this principle we will decide on the deployment of troops on our own,” he said without elaborating.
For the first time since Doklam standoff, India & China hold ‘constructive’ discussion on border issues.India has been maintaining its troops because of the Chinese troop presence in Yatung close to Doklam.
While it is not clear whether the issue figured in the 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) talks between India and China here on November 17, officials said the meeting reviewed the situation in all sectors of India- China border and exchanged views on enhancing Confidence Building Measures (CBMS) and military contacts.It was the first meeting after the Dokalam standoff.
Asked whether the two sides made progress to establish hotlines between the two militaries to avert crisis like Doklam, Wu said both sides are in touch on this issue.
China ‘won’t compromise’, to deal with ‘Doklam-like issues more strongly. He, however, clarified that the hotline can’t be between the two military headquarters as China no longer has a military central office after the recent reforms.
At the WMCC meeting, the two sides discussed maintaining peace and stability and border exchanges, Wu said, adding that both sides will keep in contact with each other.
(With inputs from PTI)