China, India tensions intensify; each deploy 3,000 more troops


NEW DELHI: The ongoing troop face-off between India and China on the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction has emerged as the biggest confrontation of its kind in the region in decades, with both sides continuing to pump in reinforcements to the remote border region, according to Indian media.

Even as Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat reviewed the ground situation by visiting the headquarters of the 17 Mountain Division in Gangtok and the 27 Mountain Division in Kalimpong on Thursday, sources said that the two rival armies had strengthened their positions at the border by deploying around 3,000 troops each in a virtually eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation.

The Indian Army, on its part, refused to say anything. But sources say that there have been other troop standoffs at the tri-junction over the years, the latest one at the Doka La general area, clearly being the most serious.

“Both sides are as yet not willing to budge from their positions. Flag meetings and other talks between the rival commanders have not worked till now,” a source said.

During his visit, General Rawat especially concentrated on the deployments of the 17 Division, which is responsible for the defence of eastern Sikkim with four brigades (each with over 3,000 soldiers) under its command.

“All top officers, including the 33 Corps and 17 Division commanders, were present during the extensive discussions. The chief will return to New Delhi on Friday morning,” the source said.



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