India and China averted a Doklam-like face-off and have resolved the intrusion incident in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tuting area following a Border Personnel Meeting between the two sides. The report was relayed to the media by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday. “The Tuting incident has been resolved. A Border Personnel Meeting between the two sides in Arunachal two days ago had resolved the issue,” Rawat was quoted as saying by PTI.
On December 26, the Indian Army and Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) foiled a Chinese attempt to build a track on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Tuting area of Arunachal Pradesh. While the Chinese workers were told to return to their side of the LAC, their road construction equipment was seized.
The Army Chief said in the meeting China had agreed to stop road-construction activity across the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal. Subsequently, the Indian troops returned the two earth excavators and other equipment seized from the Chinese workers.
Sources had told The Indian Express that the Chinese track construction party was building a 12-feet wide, 1-km long track inside Indian territory. Because of the curved nature of tracks in mountain areas, it meant that the Chinese were nearly 400 metres inside Arunachal Pradesh.
Although Bishing falls on the disputed LAC, it is not an area which witnesses Chinese incursions or clashes with Indian patrols. While this remote area, at an altitude of over 12,000 feet, is manned by the ITBP, the track construction activity took place about 2 km away from the nearest ITBP post.
In an address at an event on modernisation of the armed forces, Gen. Rawat said future wars would be fought on difficult terrains and circumstances and the forces would have to be prepared for them. His comments were seen as an apparent reference to China.
Days after the end of the Doklam standoff, the Army chief had said India should be prepared for a two-front war, noting that China had started “flexing its muscles”. He had also said China was trying to take over Indian territory in a gradual manner, and cautioned the forces to guard against such attempts. “Future wars will be fought in difficult terrains and circumstances. We have to be prepared for them,” Gen. Rawat had said.
The incident came nearly four months after the end of the 73-day Doklam standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim sector. The Indian soldiers prevented the Chinese from building a road in the disputed territory, following which an eyeball-to-eyeball face-off ensued. Meanwhile, Rawat said there was a major reduction of Chinese troops in the Doklam area. “There is a major reduction in the Chinese troop strength,” General Rawat said.
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