China Is Building Helipads And Trenches In Doklam: Admits Nirmala Sitaraman

| March 6 , 2018 , 10:44 IST

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the first day of the second-leg of the Parliament Budget Session on Monday responded to questions in the Rajya Sabha regarding the formation of defence structures by China near the Doklam border. 

Sitaraman said that China has undertaken "construction of some infrastructure, including sentry posts, trenches and helipads" near the face-off site between Indian and Chinese troops at Doklam in the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction area.

While replying to a question on the issue in Rajya Sabha she said, "Post disengagement from the face-off in 2017, troops of both sides have redeployed themselves away from their respective positions at the face-off site. The strength of both sides has been reduced."

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"In order to maintain these troops during the winter, the People Liberation Army (PLM) has undertaken construction of some infrastructure, including sentry posts, trenches and helipads," Sitharaman said.

Sitharaman’s reply came in response to a question on whether satellite images have revealed that China has constructed seven helipads in Doklam, besides deploying tanks and missiles in the area.

When a question was asked on whether India had taken up the issue of constructions with China, Sitharaman stated that border security issues were regularly discussed with Beijing through diplomatic channels, as well as meetings of border personnel and flag meetings.

ALSO READ: For The First Time, 1,800 Chinese Troops To Spend Winter At Doklam

Last week, Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said that the situation along the China border is “sensitive” and it has the potential to escalate.

In January, Army Chief Bipin Rawat had said India needed to shift its focus from its borders with Pakistan to that of China.

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Earlier the Indian troops were engaged in a two-and-a-half-month stand-off with the Chinese troops in Doklam range in the Sikkim sector which ended in August 2017.