India should help Bhutan to increase troops in the Doklam plateau to counter the Chinese military deployment in the Sikkim sector, a Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs is believed to have suggested in its draft document, PTI reported on Sunday. The draft report on Sino-India relations, including in Doklam, the border situation, and cooperation in international organisations failed to get adopted as the panel lacked the quorum, IANS reported.
The panel, headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, was reportedly informed that Chinese troops were still deployed in Doklam even after India and China announced a disengagement of armed forces following a standoff in 2017, The Indian Express reported. Congress President Rahul Gandhi is also a member of the panel.
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. Since the standoff ended, both countries have maintained that talks are on to improve ties. In January, India had dismissed news reports claiming that Chinese forces were still present in the region and were building a military complex there.
The draft report includes differing inputs from the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Defence, both of whom claim to have resolved the standoff, reports said. The document also includes testimonies from former Foreign Secretary S Jaishanker, his successor Vijay Gokhale, Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and former Army chief General (retired) Deepak Kapoor.
Gokhale reportedly told the committee that most of the North Doklam territory is disputed between Bhutan and China and that it was up to Bhutan to decide on the matter, The Indian Express reported. The foreign secretary said any increase in troops on the India-China border was taking place on both sides.
The committee was told that India had deployed an adequate number of troops in the territory and that 13 rounds of diplomatic discussions between Beijing and New Delhi had led to the calling off of the standoff.