PLA ac­tiv­ity in Dok­lam: Bhutan talks to China

En­voys’ Meet­ing Af­ter Month Of Dis­en­gage­ment

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - | POLITICS POLICY - Sachin.Parashar@ times­group.com

New Delhi: Amid re­ports that Chi­nese troops re­main sta­tioned in the Dok­lam re­gion — though away from the site of the show­down with In­dia — Bhutan has again dis­cussed the sit­u­a­tion with the Chi­nese mis­sion here.

Diplo­matic sources here said Bhutan’s am­bas­sador to In­dia Vet­sop Nam­gyel met Luo Zhao­hui, his Chi­nese coun­ter­part here, on Septem­ber 27 to dis­cuss the is­sue of Chi­nese ac­tiv­i­ties in the Dok­lam re­gion.

The meet­ing took place at the Chi­nese em­bassy around 4pm. This was ex­actly a month af­ter In­dia and China an­nounced dis­en­gage­ment of their troops from the eye­ball-to-eye­ball stand-off on the Dok­lam plateau which, as both New Delhi and Thimpu be­lieve, is lo­cated in Bhutan but is claimed by China.

The dis­en­gage­ment an­nounced by In­dia and China on Au­gust 28 still holds. As the MEA said in a state­ment ear­lier this month, there is no fresh ac­tiv­ity at the face-off site and its vicin­ity and the sta­tus quo re­mains.

As pointed out in sev­eral me­dia re­ports in the past cou­ple of weeks though, Chi­nese troops re­main sta­tioned around 800-900 me­tres from the site on the Dok­lam plateau even though Bei­jing has shifted road con­struc­tion equip­ment from that site. Re­ports cit­ing satel­lite im­agery have stated that China is cur­rently build­ing a road net­work10-12km north of the stand­off site. Bhutan and China are also learnt to have dis­cussed in the meet­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of hold­ing an­other round of their bor­der talks soon.

With Bei­jing ap­par­ently look­ing to wean Bhutan away from In­dia’s sphere of in­flu­ence, any move which Thimpu makes on the is­sue of the dis­puted Bhutan-China-In­dia tri­junc­tion is of im­mense sig­nif­i­cance to In­dia. The Bhutan en­voy’s meet­ing with Luo co­in­cided with re­ports that China re­mained ac­tive in the Dok­lam re­gion, look­ing prob­a­bly to im­prove its ac­cess from Yatung, where PLA has a base, to the ter­ri­tory which is dis­puted be­tween China and Bhutan.

AFP

An In­dian sol­dier and his Chi­nese coun­ter­part place a barbed wire fence at the Nathu La bor­der in Sikkim in this file photo

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