Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre on Thursday said the situation along the Indo-China border continues to be “sensitive” and could escalate, PTI reported. His comments came nearly six months after the Doklam standoff between New Delhi and Beijing ended.
“At the Line of Actual Control, the situation is sensitive as incidents of patrolling, transgression and standoffs have a potential of escalation,” Bhamre said at a seminar in New Delhi. “While confidence building measures are being enhanced, we shall continue to take all action deemed necessary to ensure the sanctity of LAC.” The Line of Actual Control is the about 4,000-km-long border between India and China.
The Doklam plateau, near the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction, was the site of a 74-day-long standoff between Indian and Chinese troops from June to August 2017. Both Thimphu and Beijing claim it is their territory. India, which supports Bhutan’s claim, had claimed to have stepped in to stop China from building a road there.
Several unconfirmed reports, however, claim China has continued to keep its troops in north Doklam and is expanding its infrastructure in the area. In January, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it was entitled to build infrastructure in Doklam as it “is exercising its sovereignty in its own territory”. India’s Ministry of External Affairs had a day earlier dismissed as inaccurate the reports about Chinese military build-up at the site.
Earlier that month, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had called Doklam a disputed territory, and admitted that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army “was exerting pressure” on Indian troops. Rawat had said India was “ready to cater” to any situation should the need arise. Soon after, China criticised Rawat and said his “unconstructive” comments were not helping maintain peace at the border.
Rising instability in India’s neighbourhood
Bhamre also said there was a possibility that Pakistan could become a “conduit” for spreading the Islamic State’s ideologies to countries like India. The rising instability in India’s neighbourhood has also increased the possibility of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors, he said.
“Today, we are facing a difficult neighbourhood with myriad security challenges,” Bhamre said. “Ceasefire violation along the Line of Control continues to target the Army and civilians. The situation in the hinterland in Jammu and Kashmir remains a challenge.”
Besides this, the increase in religious fundamentalism is also a challenge that needs to be checked, Bhamre added. “We need to continue with firm action to negate, mitigate and destroy elements inimical to our security,” he said.