The Doklam dispute may have been settled between India and China, but it has created a permanent tension at the trijunction area between two nations and Bhutan, a report said.
In the freezing temperatures of Himalayas, ‘around 1,600-1,800 Chinese troops have now virtually established a permanent presence in the Doklam area, near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet trijunction’, Times of India reported.
The information, based on military sources, includes construction of two helipads, upgraded roads, scores of pre-fabricated huts, shelters and stores to withstand the freezing winter in the high-altitude region.
Indian security establishment believes that while India "achieved its strategic objective" of not letting China extend its existing road in Doklam (or the Dolam plateau) southwards towards the Jampheri ridge, the fallout has been "the almost permanent stationing of People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops in the region".
Earlier, PLA patrols would come to Doklam, which is disputed between China and Bhutan, between April-May and October-November every year to mark their presence and lay claim to the area before going back. But after the dispute, the PLA has seemingly decided to maintain the presence year long.
India’s dispute with China in the Sikkim region ended through diplomatic dialogue on August 28. But the 73-days long stand off has left a sour taste.
Even after three months of standoff resolution, Chinese state media reported the crash of a faulty Indian drone in its territory as an ‘intrusion’ and demanded an apology from India for ‘bad manners’.
China a friend or foe?
Interestingly, the fresh reports of continued tension between two nations come at a time on Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to India for a trilateral meet.
Wang Yi, who met his India counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Monday, had earlier said that India and China's strategic interests outweigh "partial frictions" and handling of the Doklam standoff through diplomatic means reflects the importance of bilateral ties.
Highlighting China’s diplomatic triumphs at a symposium in Beijing last week, the minister said, "Through diplomatic means, the Indian side withdrew its equipment and personnel which reflected the value and importance of China-India relations and demonstrated sincerity and responsibility of maintaining regional peace and stability."
"China and India have far greater shared strategic interests than differences, and far greater needs for cooperation than partial friction," he said.
Contrary to the friendship line toed by the Wang Yi, the Chinese military recently hinted at maintaining sizable presence of its troops near the area of Doklam standoff during winter, asserting that the region is in Chinese territory.
"Donglong (Doklam) is Chinese territory…based on this principle we will decide on the deployment of troops on our own," Col Wu Qian, spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Defence said without elaborating, reports said.
India-China standoff in the Doklam region began in mid-June when PLA troops attempted to disrupt the status quo by constructing a road that would have had serious security implications for it.
Although, India in the past never objected to Chinese military patrols in Doklam but the incident forced the Indian soldiers to go down the ridge slope from their Doka La post to cross into Doklam on June 18 to physically block Chinese troops from constructing the road towards Jampheri ridge, which overlooks India's militarily vulnerable Siliguri corridor, or the so-called "Chicken's Neck" area