SSB presence along Indo-Bhutan border to be increased

Guwahati, December 21: The Sashastra Seema Bal say they are ‘more alert’ as they establish new border posts in Sikkim along the Bhutan frontier near Doklam, the region that recently saw a standoff between India and China. The Central armed force’s Director General Rajni Kant Mishra also said they are enhancing their strength as they are deployed just below the India-Bhutan-Tibet  tri-junction and said the SSB will be getting some Border Outposts and a battalion headquarters in the area.

The location and land for the new BoP that would come up in Yuksom in Sikkim has reportedly been cleared by the government. A total of 734 BoPs along both the Nepal and Bhutan borders will be set up. The region has 635 now BoPs now. With the establishment of the battalion headquarters and the BoP, almost 1,000 more troops would be deployed in the area.

“Chinese influence has been increasing along the border areas and other Indian agencies are keeping track of that development. We are staying alert on the Bhutan border, but Bhutanese forces have not shared any report of untoward Chinese activity with us so far,” Mishra said.

Answering a query on the SSB’s preparations in view of the 73 day-long military standoff between India and China in Doklam last summer, Mishra said “On the Bhutan border, in Sikkim, we are more alert and there is going to be a slightly increased strength on that border”.

He also spoke about the porous Indo-Nepal boder and informed the media that 27% of the pillars along the Indo Nepal border are missing.

“Political changes in Nepal and the growing Chinese influence in the neighbouring country are some of the major challenges for the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB),” he said.

China has reportedly stationed more than 1500 troops near the border in the high altitude region in what is being seen as a move by the country to permanently establish its presence at Doklam, a disputed region. The troops will be there throughout the winter and shelters and stores have reportedly been set up, roads are also being repaired.

There are reports that they’ve also built two helipads at the said location.

Earlier the PLA or People’s Liberation Army would patrol the area only during the summer months as China has always laid claim to Doklam which is considered to fall within Bhutan. Indian troops and their Chinese counterparts had a confrontation earlier this year when China had attempted to construct a road in the disputed area. India had intervened to protect Bhutan’s territorial integrity and also since that road could later prove to be a threat to Northeast India.

The Doklam Standoff was resolved in August.

(MG)