China is building helipads, sentry posts and trenches in Doklam: Nirmala Sitharaman

Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday told the Rajya Sabha that Indian and Chinese troops had redeployed themselves away from the site of last summer’s face-off in Doklam.

A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla | Image: The Wire

“Troops of both sides have ‘redeployed’ themselves away from their respective positions at the Doklam face-off site. The strength of both sides has been reduced,” she said replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

“To maintain these troops during winters, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has undertaken construction of some infrastructure, including sentry posts, trenches, and helipads,” she added.

Defense Minister’s reply came in response to a question on whether satellite images have revealed that China has constructed seven helipads in Doklam, besides deploying tanks and missiles in the area.

Asked whether India had taken up the issue of constructions with China, Sitharaman said border issues were regularly discussed with Beijing through diplomatic channels, as well as meetings of border personnel and flag meetings.

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam from June 16 last year after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. The face-off ended on August 28.

Sources said China has been keeping its troops in north Doklam and significantly ramping up its infrastructure in the disputed area. In January, Army Chief Bipin Rawat had said India needed to shift its focus from its borders with Pakistan to that of China.

The Kootneeti Team - South Asia

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