Home Minister Rajnath Singh will ring in the New Year with Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troops in Uttarakhand’s Nelong valley along the China border. This visit comes days after Chinese military said India should “strictly control” its troops.
This would be the Home Minister’s second visit to the Sino-Indian border area in Uttarakhand after his 4-day tour of the region in September. It was one of the firsts by a senior minister in the Narendra Modi-led government to China border after the resolution of the stand-off in Doklam.
Singh would celebrate the New Year on Monday with ITBP personnel at Nelong Border Outpost (BoP) situated at the height of 11,700 feet. The border outpost is in Nelong valley that is surrounded by high mountains and where temperature dips upto minus 15 degrees Celsius. The Home Minister is expected to reach ITBP’s 12th battalion headquarters on Sunday in picturesque Matli, located at 3,400 feet on the banks of Bhagirathi river, where he will attend a cultural programme by jawans and their family members.
He will also visit PDA or Pulam Sumdha (altitude 14,200 feet), Kopang (8,700 feet) and Bhairon Ghati (9,150 feet), and will interact with jawans of the ITBP. The Home Minister would be accompanied by ITBP Director General (DG) RK Pachnanda during his visit. The Dokalam standoff began on June 16 after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began building a road in the area claimed by Bhutan.
The standoff ended on August 28 following a mutual agreement under which China stopped the construction of the road and India withdrew its troops. The about 90,000-personnel strong ITBP is tasked with guarding the 3,488 km long Sino-India border that stretches through Jammu and Kashmir (1,597 km), Himachal Pradesh (200 km), Uttarakhand (345 km), Sikkim (220 km) and Arunachal Pradesh (1,126 km).
Asked how the Chinese military viewed its relations with its Indian counterpart in 2018 in the backdrop of the Dokalam standoff, Chinese Defence Spokesman Col Ren Guoqiang on Thursday had said India should implement the border agreements and control its troops.