Troops deployed at Doklam sent back to barracks
Indian Army formations including heavy guns and artillery that had moved north in the eastern sector to areas near the site of the Doklam standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies have been ordered to move back.
While an operational alert was issued because of the border standoff with China in Doklam near the trijunction between India’s Sikkim, China and Bhutan, an Indian Army exercise had also begun at that time, an annual feature before winter sets in, setting bells ringing across the border, which was followed by counter moves.
“The Indian Army undertakes military exercises before the onset of winter and this time the exercise coincided with the Doklam standoff with China. The exercise has ended and the troops are moving back to the barracks”, a source confirmed to this newspaper.
The move is likely to be matched by a similar pullback by China’s People’s Liberation Army, which had also garnered and consolidated its positions in the remote and inhospitable terrain in the Doklam plateau.
At the actual site of the standoff that lasted 73 days, a contingent of
about 350 Indian soldiers faced an equal number of Chinese soldiers in a vigil at the 10,500-foot high spot, about 2 km south of the trijunction near Sikkim, with only about 100-odd metres separating the two armies. The highly tense situation also saw a border skirmish between troops of the two countries engaging in fisticuffs near the Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh.
The latest move to pull back has taken place in the backdrop of the ongoing Army commanders’ conference which began on Monday and will end on Sunday. The past four days comprised open sessions where defence ministry officials and the Army brass participated.