Sanjha Morcha

No war, no peace’ stance PLA, though, has built bunkers, fortifications in Tibet

‘No war, no peace’ stance
Ceremonial meetings are not like the usual flag-meetings. AFP file

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9

Even as India and China remain locked in an intense standoff at the Doklam plateau in Bhutan, the military positioning of either side is in state of readiness with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) having quickly constructed some bunkers and added to fortifications in Tibet.Militarily, it’s classified as position of ‘no war and no peace’— not on the cusp of a war but literally ready to face the enemy in case of a war. The addition of fortifications means a signal for a battle.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)The Indian Army’s 33 Corps headquartered at Sukha near Darjeeling has three divisions—17th, 20th and 27th—that are tasked at the frontier along the Sikkim-Tibet border. Each division has some 12,000-13,000 men, along with elements of the artillery guns which played a key role in the Kargil dispute with Pakistan in 1999.  Not all of these divisions are forward deployed as they have couple of brigades that are normally forward located and that is same as before. The moves are “more of posturing”. The Indian Army has observed that PLA has indulged in quick construction of bunkers and other military fortifications in Tibet over the past few weeks.The critical point is how many troops have been acclimatised to be immediately inducted at higher altitudes, said sources. Doklam, the site of the standoff, is about 11,000 feet high. The brigades, though not forward deployed, maintain a number of troops who are acclimatised. The troops are stationed at varying depths from the border and there has been no movement that would be termed as fresh.Over the next three-four days, it will be known what stand India takes. Whether the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) delegations would be invited for the ceremonial border personnel meeting on August 15 is a decision not known yet. There are five such meeting points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and ceremonial meetings are hosted at these five points—Depsang in sub-sector north and Sappangur Gap (both on eastern Ladakh), Nathu La in Sikkim and Bum La and Kibithoo in Arunachal Pradesh. Ceremonial meetings are not like the usual flag-meetings. These are events to know each other socially. A lunch and a cultural show are hosted. China reciprocates with the same on its national day in October.