Chinese Army has built bunkers and deployed soldiers at forward positions on border: Indian Army

Chinese Army has built bunkers and deployed soldiers at forward positions on border: Indian Army

NEW DELHI - When the confrontation with Chinese troops at Doklam started earlier this year, a Brigade Commander walked across and warned Chinese troops to move back, says Lieutenant-General Praveen Bakshi (retd.), who as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Army Command, was responsible for operations in the region when the two sides engaged in the prolonged standoff.

Only his sahayak accompanied the Brigadier as he walked across to the Chinese side to caution them from coming forward, Gen. Bakshi said at the Military Literature Festival organised by the Punjab government in Chandigarh on Friday.

The standoff began on June 16 when the Chinese troops entered the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan to construct a road.

Two days later, 270-plus Indian troops with bulldozers entered the area to stop them.

The standoff ended on August 28, when both sides announced troop withdrawal.

Full autonomy

“Complete operational autonomy had been delegated to the commanders on ground and we were geared up for a long haul,” said Gen. Bakshi, who was overlooked for the post of the Chief of the Army Staff by the Modi government in favour of Gen. Bipin Rawat.

“As we saw Doklam coming, additional formations had been moved to the area beforehand and the troops were well acclimatised,” he said.

Gen. Bakshi also said that the operational coordination among all the agencies was effective and well in place.

He said they assessed that the chance of an all-out war was very low, but expected a skirmish to break out or China to open another front.

‘Refused to back down’

The just-retired Lt. General said Indian troops had formed human chains and refused to back down.

During close surveillance, Indian troops picked up a few instances of the Chinese troops breaking ranks in the night.

Though the standoff formally ended, the situation on the ground has not been a real return to status quo.

The Chinese have managed to construct new bunkers and deployed soldiers in forward positions, according to the Army.