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China removes Indian bunker in Sikkim

China has removed an old bunker of the Indian Army located at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan in Sikkim by using a bulldozer after the Indian side refused to accede to its request, according to official sources.

The incident that broke out in the first week of June in Doka La general area in Sikkim had led to a face-off between the two forces, triggering tension in the Sikkim section of the India-China border, the sources said on Wednesday.

The forcible removal of the old bunker by using heavy machinery like a bulldozer came when the Indian side did not agree to a request by the Chinese authorities to dismantle it, the sources said.

China is believed to have not taken kindly to India building many new bunkers and upgrading older ones along the border in Sikkim in the recent past to augment its defences against the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the sources said.

Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.

Beijing is also upset with New Delhi over the recent visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, the sources said, adding they were also trying to escalate tension in the forward areas, including in Sikkim, even though the border in the northeastern state is demarcated.

The Sikkim government has also sent a report to the central government giving details of the situation along the border following the stand-off in Doka La. The first batch of Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims comprising about 50 people returned from Nathu La border post as the stand-off between India and China continues.

The pilgrims returned to Gangtok on June 23 after staying in Nathu La for three days awaiting permission from the Chinese side to undertake the onward journey.

The second batch of the pilgrims did not move from Gangtok while pilgrims were told to go home as the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage is unlikely to continue this year via Nathu La.

The Sikkim route to Mansarvar, which is in Tibet, was thrown open to public in 2015.

Army Chief Bipin Rawat to visit Sikkim today to assess situation

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat will visit Sikkim Thursday in the backdrop of a standoff between Indian troops and Chinese army along the Sino-India border in the sensitive sector which is threatening to further strain the bilateral ties.

The Army chief will take stock of the operational matters and interact with top commanders in the formation headquarters of the force in the border state. Gen Rawat's visit to Sikkim comes amid mounting tension between the two armies along the border in Sikkim following a scuffle between Indian troops and the personnel of China's People's Liberation Army in a remote area earlier this month.
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