The flag meeting between senior army officials from India and China at Nathu La mountain pass in Sikkim on Friday ended without reaching to any conclusion on the Doklam standoff as New Delhi insisted on simultaneous withdrawal of troops by both sides. The army officials from the two sides extensively discussed the Doklam standoff but the “deliberations remained inconclusive”, PTI quoted its sources as saying. In the Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) attended by Major General rank officers from both sides, India insisted that the face-off could be resolved through simultaneous withdrawal of troops by the Indian and Chinese sides, they said.
Friday’s deliberations follow a meeting between brigade commanders of the two sides on August 8.
“The meeting remained inconclusive as the Chinese side insisted on withdrawal of Indian troops from Dokalam immediately,” a senior Indian official said. The BPM set up was launched by both countries to sort out local issues and ensure peace and tranquillity along the sensitive border.
The two sides hold BPM in five points which include Daulat Beg Oldie in northern Ladakh, Kibithoo in Arunachal Pradesh, Chusul in Ladakh, Bum-La near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and Nathu-La in Sikkim.
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.
China claimed it was constructing the road within their territory and has been demanding immediate pull-out of the Indian troops from the disputed Doklam plateau.
Bhutan says Doklam belongs to it but China claims it to be its territory. China has been ramping up rhetoric against India over the last few weeks demanding immediate withdrawal of Indian troops from Dokalam. The Chinese state media, particularly, have carried a barrage of critical articles on the Dokalam stand- off slamming India.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had recently said both sides should first pull back their troops for any talks to take place, favouring a peaceful resolution of the border standoff.
India also conveyed to the Chinese government that the road construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for it.
India deploys more troops along China border in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh
Meanwhile, in a strategically key move, India has poured in more troops along the entire stretch of its border with China in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the face of heightened rhetoric by Beijing over the Dokalam standoff, senior government officials said on Friday. The ‘caution level’ among the troops has also been raised, the officials told PTI.
The decision to increase the deployment along the nearly 1,400-km Sino-India border from Sikkim to Arunachal Pradesh was taken after carrying out a detailed analysis of the situation and considering China's aggressive posturing against India on Dokalam, the officials said.
"The troop level along the border with China in the Sikkim and Arunachal sectors has been increased," said the officials on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.
The Army's Sukna-based 33 Corps as well as 3 and 4 corps based in Arunachal and Assam are tasked to protect the sensitive Sino-India border in the eastern theatre.
The officials declined to give any figure or percentage of increased deployment, saying they cannot disclose ‘operational details’.
The officials, however, said there is no enhancement of troops at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction in Dokalam where around 350 army personnel are holding on to their position for nearly eight weeks after stopping Chinese troops from constructing a road on June 16.