NEW DELHI: In a strategically significant move, India has poured in more troops along the entire stretch of its border with China in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh as a response to heightened rhetoric by Beijing over the Doklam standoff, senior government officials said on Friday.
The “caution level” among the troops has also been raised, the officials told PTI.
The decision to increase troop deployment along the nearly 1,400-km Sino-India border from Sikkim to Arunachal Pradesh was taken after carrying out a detailed analysis of the situation and considering China’s aggressive posturing against India on Doklam, the officials said.
“The troop level along the border with China in the Sikkim and Arunachal sectors has been increased,” said the officials on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.
The Army’s Sukna-based 33 Corps as well as 3 and 4 corps based in Arunachal and Assam are tasked with protecting the sensitive Sino-India border in the eastern theatre.
The officials declined to give any figures with regard to increased deployment, saying they cannot disclose “operational details.” According to defence experts, roughly 45,000 troops including personnel having completed the weather acclimatisation process are normally kept ready along the border at any given time, but not all are necessarily deployed.
The soldiers, deployed over 9,000 feet, have to go through a 14-day-long acclimatisation process. The officials, however, said there is no enhancement of troops at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction in Doklam where around 350 army personnel have been holding their positions for nearly eight weeks after stopping Chinese troops from constructing a road on June 16.
Bhutan and China have competing claims over Doklam and are negotiating a resolution.China has been ramping up its rhetoric against India over the last few weeks, demanding immediate withdrawal of Indian troops from Doklam.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj recently said both sides should first pull back their troops for any talks to take place, and favoured a peaceful resolution of the border standoff. India also conveyed to the Chinese government that the road construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for it.
Meanwhile, PTI has also learned that army personnel from India and China held a meeting at Nathu La mountain pass in Sikkim on Friday.