Troops de­ployed at Dok­lam sent back to bar­racks

The Asian Age - - Front Page - SANJIB KR BARUAH NEW DELHI, OCT. 12

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.

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