Following the Doklam standoff, India has intensified patrolling and deployed more troops in the mountainous terrains of Dibang, Dau-Delai and Lohit valleys as part of a strategy to counter China’s rising assertiveness along the borders in the Tibetan region in Arunachal sector, PTI reported.
“Post Doklam, we have increased our activities manifold. We are fully prepared to deal with any challenge,” said an army officer posted in Kibithu, the easternmost village on India’s border with China’s Tibetan region.
Pointing out that India has been focussing on dominating the treacherous terrains which include snow-clad mountains at an altitude of over 17,000 feet and river passes, military officials stated that India is also strengthening its surveillance mechanism to keep an eye on Chinese activities along the borders in the strategically sensitive Tibetan region and has even been regularly deploying choppers to carry out recce.
Interestingly, the latest development comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Qingdao in China for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit on June 9-10, Indian envoy to China Gautam Bambawale has confirmed. His visit is being seen as an attempt to mend fences with Beijing.
The official further said the Army has been enhancing its Long Range Patrols (LRPs) where troops in small groups go for patrols for 15-30 days as part of an overall approach to maintain the sanctity of the Line of Actual Control, the de-facto border between India and China.
“We have increased our deployment of troops while focusing on all the strategically important areas including a tri-junction among India, China and Myanmar,” said the official, adding that there was a need for India to enhance its road network for quick movements of troops in view of China ramping up its infrastructure development along India’s border, especially in the Tibetan region.
China has been constructing new roads and improving its overall infrastructure along the nearly 4,000 km long border with India. Earlier this month, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said China has undertaken construction of helipads, sentry posts and trenches for its army personnel near Doklam.
India’s opposition to China’s attempts to construct a road on the Doklam plateau emerged as a major flashpoint between the two Asian giants. Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day standoff in Doklam from June 16 last year.