PLA activity in Doklam: Bhutan talks to China
Envoys’ Meeting After Month Of Disengagement
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.
An Indian soldier and his Chinese counterpart place a barbed wire fence at the Nathu La border in Sikkim in this file photo