The strained events that unfold between the troops of India and China earlier this year regarding the Doklam issue recently made an Indian Brigade Commander to walk across the border accompanied only by his buddy to warn the Chinese troops to step back.
China had not initiated a single move since then. Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi (retd), the then General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, and the senior-most commander in the theater revealed today that Indian establishment had significant anticipation in the Doklam issue.
Lt Gen Bakshi spoke at the two-day Military Literature Festival being organised by the Punjab Government and said there are slight chances of war despite of China improving their ante through media and diplomatic channels. However, there were chances of them breaking a skirmish he added.
This all started in June-August when the Chinese and Indian troops got engaged in a 73-day stand-off at Doklam pass which is situated at the tri-junction of Sikkim, China and Bhutan. When China started the construction of a new road in the disputed territory of Bhutan and China, India stood by its ally Bhutan during the conflict.
On August 28, both the sides were made to disengage their troops; however, the reports were still emerging of both the sides maintaining their involvement low-key.
During the recent visit of Chinese commander to India, he indicated his operational interest in that region while interacting in Tibet. He also pointed out the ongoing Chinese Activities in the region.
The Ministry of External Affairs was the only medium with which any engagement was made with the Chinese government. During the same time New Delhi had to send a firm message to the West Bengal government regarding the serious internal disturbances taking place in Darjeeling.
Making use of this Psychological advantage they got over India, the troops refused to back down or break their positions while forming human chains. The area was under constant surveillance which helped in observing a few activities of Chinese troops. He also claimed that the Chinese troops were observed breaking ranks at night.
“Complete operational autonomy had been delegated to the commanders on ground and we were geared up for a long haul. There were clear-cut operational directions, requisite coordination among government agencies and the wherewithal was made available. As we saw Doklam coming, additional formations had been moved to the area beforehand and the troops were well acclimatised,” said Lt Gen Bakshi.
While speaking about the reasons that prompted Chinese action at Doklam, Lt Gen Bakshi said China now sees India as a threat. “Earlier, they only used to patrol the area. But now they have started building defences,” he added.
Post stand-off, they have deployed Sino troops along the LOC which also calls for a need to re-check the management of a single disputed border maintained by multiple agencies.