India-China have returned to pre-Doklam bonhomie, says Army chief

New Delhi, Jan 17: The India-China “bonhomie” before the Doklam standoff has returned, Army chief Bipin Rawat said, but added that one should be “prepared for anything”.

In a Facebook Live session during the ongoing Raisina Dialogue organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), he said: “I think the bonhomie (between India and China) has returned to what it was prior to the Dolam (Doklam standoff). I don’t visualise very serious trouble, but then one has to be prepared for anything.”

Gen Rawat said troops were still there in the northern part of the plateau, which is a part of Chinese territory.

“As far as Doklam is concerned PLA soldiers are there in a part of the area, although not in numbers that we saw them in initially. They have carried out some infrastructure development which is mostly temporary in nature.

“While troops (PLA) may have returned and infrastructure remains, it is anybody’s guess whether they would come back there or is it because of the winters that they could not take their equipment, but we are also there, so in case they come, we will face them,” he said.

Rawat however added that the mechanisms established between India and China are working “very well”.

“But mechanisms that we have of defusing tensions between our two countries are working very well and after Doklam, we’ve started our Border Personnel Meeting, we are meeting regularly, exchanges are taking place, communication between commanders at ground level is on,” he said.

At the annual pres conference of India Army recently, the Army chief had said focus should shift to the northern border with China, adding that while China had emerged as a “powerful nation”, India was not a weak nation.

He said road construction had been on in Doklam since 2000, but the Chinese soldiers had come close to Tosa Nala — which divides north and south Doklam — with a large number of manpower and equipment in June last year, just before the India-China standoff started.

IANS

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