Doklam standoff: Flag meeting between India, China Army officials remain inconclusive

Amid escalating tension between India and China at the International Border at Doklam, sources have today confirmed that another flag meeting between the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army officials over the ongoing stand-off remained inconclusive. The diplomatic meeting was held in Nathu-La and was attended by top Indian Army officials and a Major General rank officer while usually flag meetings are attended by Brigadier level officials. Sources have further hinted towards the possibility of another flag meeting to be held soon.

While the Indian Army denied commenting on any development at the border, the army was reportedly on high alert along the eastern border on Friday. The standoff between the two countries’ armed forces started on June 16 following the intrusion of a construction party of the PLA at Doklam to construct road at the area.

Days back, Indian Army has reportedly evacuated a nearby village in the area. According to a report by News18, villagers from Nathang, located 35 kms from the site of the standoff, had been directed by the Indian Army to immediately evacuate. However, it was unknown whether the reason for the evacuation is to accommodate the Army or to avoid civilian deaths during in case of a conflict. Reportedly there have been heavy movement of troops in the area in the recent times. Indian Express reported the movement of thousands of Indian Army soldiers of the 33 Corps looking after the China-Sikkim border. Reported the Army schedule for the 33 Corps’ Operational Alert has been advanced. China’s People’s Liberation Army has also been spotted with 80 tents at a distance of one kilometre from the vicinity of the stand-off site.

And as tension continues at the border, Bhutan has today denied Chinese foreign ministry’s claims, stating the disputed trilateral border area in the Sikkim sector is not Bhutan’s territory.

Days back, a top Chinese diplomat claimed that Bhutan had conveyed through diplomatic channels that the area of standoff in Doklam is not its territory. Reportedly, conveying the statement to visiting Indian media delegation, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs in China’s foreign ministry could not provide any concrete evidence to back her claim, which the Bhutan government has strongly refuted.

As reported by ANI, Bhutanese government said, “Our position on the border issue of Doklam is very clear. Please refer to our statement which has been published on the web site of Bhutan’s foreign ministry on June 29, 2017.”

By Priyam Mukhopadhyay

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