The PLA has been controlling the road for some years and regularly sends patrols to the area. Though, India has not objected to China’s fresh road-construction activity. China is now upgrading and widening its existing motorable road in the Bhutanese territory of Doklam
The road is not southwards towards the militarily-sensitive Jampheri Ridge area like before.
China is now upgrading and widening its existing motorable road in the Bhutanese territory of Doklam after Indian troops stopped People’s Liberation Army from extending it towards the Jampheri Ridge+ , which overlooks the strategically-vulnerable Siliguri Corridor or so-called “Chicken’s Neck” area, in mid-June.
India has not yet objected to China’s fresh road-construction activity, which is around 10-km from the earlier troop face-off site+ , because it is not southwards towards the militarily-sensitive Jampheri Ridge area like before. “The PLA is now using the construction material and bulldozers it had brought to the face-off site at Doklam to improve the road it built in the region some years ago,” said a source.
“China is reinforcing its claim on the Doklam territory (India backs Bhutan’s claim on it) by upgrading the road around 10-km north and east of the earlier face-off site. The PLA has been controlling the road for some years and regularly sends patrols to the area,” he added.
This comes a time when both India and China are maintaining stepped-up military force-levels near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction despite the rival troops having disengaged from the actual face-off site at Doklam on August 28.
It was on June 16 that Indian soldiers had come down from their nearby Doka La post to cross over into Bhutanese territory to physically prevent Chinese troops from constructing the road in the Doklam area, which is disputed between Beijing and Thimphu, towards the Jampheri Ridge.
“Both the armies continue to be on high operational alert,” said a source. The assessment is that there will be no change in the ground situation till the crucial party congress of the Chinese Communist Party from October 18, with Chinese President Xi Jinping all set to get a second five-year term to further consolidate his power. “Once the winter sets in, the PLA troops may have to shift back to Yatung, their last major town in the narrow Chumbi Valley. We have to watch-and-wait,” he said.