As Doklam standoff ends, China says it will strengthen patrols along the border

By | August 31, 2017

File photo from July 2006 shows a Chinese soldier (left) and an Indian soldier placing a barbed wire fence following a meeting of military representatives at Nathu La border crossing in India's northeastern Sikkim state.

China’s defence ministry said on Thursday it will beef up patrols along a disputed stretch of the border in Doklam sector near Sikkim but also “adjust” troop deployments after ending a more than two-month standoff with India.

Indian and Chinese troops had confronted each other on Doklam plateau, near the borders of India, its ally Bhutan and China, since mid-June in the most serious and prolonged standoff in decades.

“The Chinese military will continue to carry out its mission and responsibilities, strengthen its patrols and garrisons in the Donglang area and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security,” defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqing said.

“In light of the changes in the situation on the ground, Chinese border forces will carry out adjustments to deployments,” Ren told a monthly news briefing without elaborating.

Ren was speaking three days after New Delhi and Beijing agreed to end the standoff at Doklam, known as Donglang in Chinese, a region controlled by China but claimed by Bhutan. Reports from the region suggested Chinese troops had halted work on a road construction project that had triggered the row.

India sent troops into the area in June to stop work on the road in the remote, uninhabited territory. New Delhi said at the time that the road would alter the status quo and pose a serious security threat.

Both sides have not offered details of the terms of disengagement from the area. On Wednesday, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said India should learn its lesson from the standoff and prevent similar incidents in future.

The stand-off ended just ahead of a weekend summit in China of BRICS, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the meet in Xiamen.