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Indian Army Downplays Alleged Chinese Troop Activity in Disputed Doklam

© AFP 2021 / DIPTENDU DUTTAChinese soldier (L) and an Indian soldier stand guard at the Chinese side of the ancient Nathu La border crossing between India and China.
Chinese soldier (L) and an Indian soldier stand guard at the Chinese side of the ancient Nathu La border crossing between India and China. - Sputnik International
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The information about movements of Chinese forces comes a year after a military stand-off in 2017 that lasted over a month.

Anonymous Indian soldiers in an interview with the Hindustan Times have toned down fears about an alleged build-up of Chinese troops in the disputed Doklam territories. According to them, the recent movements might be due to winter stockpiling and troop rotations. The sources added that China has made no aggressive moves in the region since the stand-off last year.

Concerns regarding Chinese actions in Doklam arose after US Congresswoman Ann Wagner announced during a congressional hearing last week that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had resumed activities in the disputed region.

READ MORE: China, Bhutan Resume Border Talks a Year After Doklam Spat Involving India

The Indian army entered Doklam in June 2017 after China began constructing a southward extension of a road through the disputed territory towards a Bhutan Army camp at Zornpelri with construction teams being covered by PLA forces.

Around 270 Indian soldiers attempted to stop the construction, while India's Foreign Ministry accused Beijing of attempting to violate the status quo in Doklam set by a 2012 understanding between the two governments. China, for its part, accused India of violating its border.

The stand-off only led to several injuries on both sides during a border incident, when a Chinese patrol allegedly crossed the Indian frontier near Pangong Lake on August 15, as a result of allegedly being lost due to bad weather.

READ MORE: India Changing Attitude Toward China, Stops to Look Back at US — Analyst

The two countries agreed to pull their forces on August 28, 2017. China has since halted the construction of the road's extension.

Beijing has claimed sovereignty over Doklam since 1958, citing the 1890 Convention of Calcutta between the British and Chinese governments. Doklam, at the time was a part of Bhutan and included the tri-junction point between China, India and Bhutan. The latter refuted Chinese claims and signed an agreement with India over military defense. The small Asian kingdom later asked Delhi to represent its diplomatic interests in negotiations with Beijing. Two major agreements have been reached regarding the region, one in 1988 and another in 1998, which have ensured a peaceful resolution to the dispute between the countries.  

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