Doklams will recur, warn Army officials

They favour forging a more robust border management mechanism between India and China.

Updated - December 03, 2021 12:22 pm IST

Published - August 28, 2017 10:27 pm IST - New Delhi

Mending fences:  A file photo shows a Chinese and Indian soldier at Nathu La   in Sikkim.

Mending fences: A file photo shows a Chinese and Indian soldier at Nathu La in Sikkim.

The Doklam imbroglio may have been resolved peacefully after 73 days, but sources in the military warn that India and China will witness such standoffs more frequently now, unless a more robust border management mechanism is put in place.

The sources on Monday indicated that they had minimal role in securing the bilateral understanding involving withdrawal of Indian troops and China stopping the road construction. The Defence Ministry and the Army maintained silence over the withdrawal, leaving all the public communication to the Ministry of External Affairs.

“Disengagement has been agreed to. It is in progress,” an Army source said on Monday but declined to elaborate.


Rawat’s view

The withdrawal comes two days after Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat warned that standoffs with China are likely to increase in future. “The recent standoff in the Doklam plateau by the Chinese side attempting to change the status quo are issues which we need to be wary about, and I think such kind of incidents are likely to increase in the future,” he said. “Pockets of dispute and contested claims to the territory continue to exist. These are due to differing perceptions on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).”


Transgressions across the LAC do happen, he pointed out, and “sometimes they do lead to some kind of misunderstanding between the forward troops.” “However, we do have joint mechanisms in place to address such situations.”

Former Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. Gen. Vinod Bhatia also made a similar observation. He said that as different perceptions continued on the LAC, there were likely to be “more and more standoffs as we have a more assertive China and a more responsible India capable of taking care of its core security concerns”.

‘More visits required’

Noting that the five border agreements have stood the test of time in maintaining peace and tranquillity, he called for expanding the confidence building measures. “We need to add more border personal meeting points beyond the six. We need to have the DGMO  level hotline in place. We also need more visits and tactical level exchanges,” he said.

A senior Army officer said the dynamics along the border were changing and “political establishment needs to wake up” to engage in a more intense bilateral exchange with China. “It is time to brush up our treaties, and work towards more robust agreements,” he said.

The end to the standoff comes more than two months after it started, and in these two months, India-China military relations have only worsened.

On August 15, the two sides engaged in fisticuffs and threw stones by the Pangong Lake. The Chinese resorted to aggressive statements, including reminding India about the 1962 war.

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