China seems to have permanently stationed over 1,500 troops near the site of the 73-day-long military stand-off with India earlier this year, the Times of India has reported.
According to the daily’s report, the troops, which number between 1,600 to 1,800, may not withdraw during the winters, as was being expected earlier. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has constructed at least two helipads, upgraded roads, built shelters and stores to help it through the freezing winter at around 14,000 feet.
Other reports, including one in The Print based on satellite imagery, have indicated continued PLA build-up in Chinese territory north of Doklam.
However, this should not be seen as a loss for India, which had successfully deterred China from constructing a road in the territory claimed by Bhutan. This was the first time New Delhi confronted Beijing in territory it lays no claim to and was widely seen as having put across its message successfully.
"Earlier, PLA patrols would come to Doklam, which is disputed between China and Bhutan, between April-May and October-November every year to mark their presence and lay claim to the area before going back," TOI quoted a source as saying.
"Now, after the 73-day eyeball-to-eyeball troop confrontation at Doklam between India and China ended on August 28, the PLA troops have stayed put in what we consider to be Bhutanese territory for the first time this winter. But the status quo prevails at the earlier face-off site," the source added.
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