Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said that relations between India and China have improved to the state it was before the Doklam standoff, although he reiterated that a number of Chinese soldiers are still present in Doklam plateau, nearly five months after the 73-day face-off ended. On Friday, General Rawat had accepted the continuing presence of Chinese troops in Doklam.
The Indian Express had first reported on September 7 that the disengagement after the 73-day face-off had led to a withdrawal of only 150 metres by the two sides. On September 25 and October 6, The Indian Express had reported the continued presence of Chinese troops and semi-permanent infrastructure there.
“As far as Doklam is concerned, PLA (China’s People’s Liberation Army) soldiers are there in a part of the area although not in numbers that we saw them in initially. They have carried out some infrastructure development which is mostly temporary in nature,” General Rawat said in response to a question at the Raisina Dialogue.
“While troops (of PLA) may have returned and infrastructure remains, it is anybody’s guess whether they would come back there or it is because of the winters that they could not take their equipment. But we are also there, so in case they come, we will face them,” he said.
General Rawat also said that neither India nor China was looking at violating the peace attained in Doklam after the disengagement between the two sides in late-August.
“I think the bonhomie (between India and China) has returned to what was prior to Doklam, so I don’t visualise a very serious trouble. But then one has to be prepared for it always,” he said.