China has started widening a road located 10 kilometres away from the Doklam site where the Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a standoff for over two months, reports have said. Around 500 soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are reportedly guarding the construction workers. Meanwhile, IAF Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said he expects the Chinese to withdraw.
China has resumed its road building efforts in Doklam, just 10 kilometres from the site where Indian soldiers stopped the work three months ago. A media report said that the Chinese shifted the unused road construction material North and East of the site of the previous conflict. The construction workers are guarded by 500 soldiers of PLA.
NDTV reported that the soldiers will be stationed in the Chinese town of Yatung, 20 km away from the site of construction. There are no signs of developing residential space for the Chinese soldiers in the area. The report further said the road construction activity had begun shortly after India and China announced de-escalation of tensions on August 28 ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to China’s Xiamen for BRICS summit.
Indian soldiers had disrupted Chinese building activities in Doklam in June. Doklam is a disputed territory between China and Bhutan, and India acted on Bhutan’s behalf. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in a statement made to Parliament that India’s territory faced danger from the Chinese activities as the area was near ‘Chicken’s Neck’–a narrow strip of land that connects the north-eastern states to the rest of India.
The confrontation at Doklam prompted the Chinese administration to issue threats through its state-controlled media including the threat to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir. The Chinese media made veiled references to PLAs supremacy over the Indian forces. However, India didn’t budge from its position– no talks until China withdrew its soldiers. Close on the heels of the BRICs summit, both countries decided to withdraw their forces. China had maintained that only India had withdrawn its soldiers.