Around 1600-1800 Chinese troops have now taken up permanent residence in the Doklam area of the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet area. Two helipads, upgraded roads, various pre-fabricated huts, shelters and stores have been constructed to withstand the freezing winter in the high-altitude region.
Although India has achieved its objective of not letting China extend its existing road in Doklam southwards towards the Jampheri ridge, Indian security establishment sources are of the opinion that the fallout has been the permanent stationing of the People’s Liberation Army in the region.
In the past, People’s Liberation Army(PLA) would come for patrols to Doklam area during April-May and October-November every year to lay claim to the area before returning. The Doklam area is disputed between China and Bhutan. China is keen to usurp Doklam to add strategic depth to its Chumbi Valley, which juts in between Sikkim and Bhutan.
India in the past never objected to Chinese military patrols in Doklam but had to intervene in mid-June because the People’s Liberation Army troops attempted to disrupt the status quo by constructing a road that would have had serious security implications for it.
Indian soldiers had to use force to block Chinese troops from constructing the road towards Jampheri ridge on June 18. The Jampheri ridge overlooks India’s militarily vulnerable Siliguri corridor, which is also known as the ”Chicken’s Neck” area.
This incident triggered the face-off at Doklam, leading both the countries to move forward additional infantry battalions armoured, artillery, missile and air defense systems to back their limited troops on the actual stand-off site. The volatile situation was finally defused on August 28 after hectic diplomatic parleys, with the rival troops disengaging and pulling back over 150 metres from the face-off site. It paved the way for PM Narendra Modi to attend the Brics summit in Xiamen, China in September this year.