A day after China blamed the Indian Army of disregarding the border; the Indian military authorities were reluctant to speak over the claims.
Inspite of the official quiet, most military sources cautioned that the most recent advancements, particularly the Chinese move to close the Nathula Pass route to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, ought to be dealt with as a diplomatic message from Beijing.
Former Army chief General Bikram Singh said “While the past trends have shown these kinds of incidents are initiated by the Chinese during high-profile bilateral visits, I don’t think we should read too much into the timing of the incident with respect to the Prime Minister’s visit to the US”
Gen. Singh said there was no reason to be unduly stressed about the attacks.
“This is a regular feature. Our patrols also go into Chinese-held areas and they come in due to differing perceptions on the LAC and International Border. There are robust mechanisms in place to defuse such situations and ensure they don’t go out control.” However, various sources in the security establishment said the turning away of the pilgrims was a diplomatic signal that ought not to be disregarded.
As indicated by military sources, soldiers of both sides are in a stand-off along the Sikkim border for as long as few days. Indian sources insist that Chinese soldiers entered Indian Territory and crushed two bunkers in Doka La region, on the tri-junction between Bhutan, Sikkim and Tibet.
Sources said the two sides occupied with some fight, and furthermore framed human walls to keep each other from advancing further.
A retired Lt. General who had commanded a corps in the territory said, “Sikkim is a settled boundary barring the finger area in the plateau which came up during 2007.”
Jayadeva Ranade, President, Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, said that the development was significant. “I would say that because of the prolonged face-off, and the kind of articles appearing in the Chinese media. Global Times has put out at least three strong pieces on this. It all happens at a time when the relations are already under strain and also during the Prime Minister’s visit to the U.S. This is one warning shot.”
Mr. Ranade said the area where it has happened is likewise critical. “They have been trying to build a road there. For us it is strategically important. It is just 30 km from the Siliguri corridor or the Chicken’s Neck,” he pointed out. “It is a combination of strategic, sovereignty and territorial issues bundled into one,” Mr. Ranade said.