March 5, 2018 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
New Delhi: Months after Indian defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman was seen exchanging greeting with Chinese soldiers at Nathula border post in Sikkim sector which was interpreted as improvement and warmth in the Sino-Indian relationship by the Indian side has received yet another shocker from China.
After withdrawal of Indian troops from the face-off site in Doklam, China has undertaken construction of helipads, sentry posts and trenches for its army personnel there, Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reportedly said today.
“Post disengagement from the face-off in 2017, troops of both sides have redeployed themselves away from their respective positions at the face-off site. The strength of both sides have been reduced,” she said during the post budget session in the Parliament.
“In order to maintain these troops during the winter, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has undertaken construction of some infrastructure, including sentry posts, trenches and helipads,” she adds.
Last month a note circulating within the government circles was reported in which the top politicians and bureaucrats were asked to desist from attending the function related to Dalai Lama observing 50 years of government of Tibet in exile, by keeping in mind the already susceptible relationship with China. Even a junior Defence Minister Subhash Bhamre last week, had said that the situation along India’s border with China is “sensitive” and it has the potential to escalate.
Sitharaman’s reply today came in response to a question on whether satellite images have revealed that China has constructed seven helipads in Doklam besides deploying tanks and missiles in the area.
On whether India has taken up the matter with China, she said issues relating to the border are regularly taken up with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels and at Border Personnel Meetings, flag meetings and meetings of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs, media reports said.