New Delhi: India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has built an alternative road through which its troops can enter the Doklam valley. India considers the Doklam plateau an undisputed part of Bhutanese territory, while China considers it to be an extension of its Chumbi Valley, the dagger-shaped wedge of land that lies in between Sikkim to the west and Bhutan to the east. The disputed Doklam region is approximately 89 square kilometres with a width of less than 10 km.
In June 2017, 270 armed Indian soldiers crossed over into the Doklam plateau to prevent Chinese road construction workers from extending a road to the strategic Jampheri ridge-line. Otherwise, it would have helped the People’s Liberation Army to pass through the narrow Siliguri Corridor that links the northeast of India with the rest of the country.
Now, this alternative road will enable access to the area by easing the logistic difficulties, reducing time and making the process of deployment smoother.
The newly constructed road is “blacktopped on a war footing”, enabling “defence preparedness of the country in the wake of any enemy aggression”.
Yet another fact is that it will not take more than 40 minutes which used to be a 7-hour long journey. The all-weather black tarred road has no restrictions on its load-carrying capacity.
The stand-off between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Indian Army ended on August 28, 2017, when both Beijing and New Delhi announced that all their soldiers had been withdrawn from the disputed site.