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Army given free hand to protect border
R Dutta Choudhury
 GUWAHATI, Aug 24 - Though India is not apprehending any war amidst the standoff with China in Doka-La area, the Prime Minister has given a free hand to the forces to mobilise and the Indian Air Force has been asked to remain as stand-by to deal with any eventuality.

Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that the free hand given to the forces to mobilise is just a precautionary measure so that the forces can stay ready to defend the country’s territory wherever required.

The Government of India is of the view that China may try to create minor troubles in different parts of the international border like the minor scuffle that took place in Ladakh area on August 15, but at present, India is not apprehending a war.

Sources said that the Indian Army has also told the Prime Minister that the Indian forces are fully capable of holding ground in Doka-La area. “If the Indian Army can control Siachen for so many years in a much hostile climatic condition, there is no reason why we cannot control Doka-La,” the Army officers reportedly assured the Prime Minister.

Sources further pointed out that at present, India is in a much advantageous position in Doka-La area as Indian troop mobilisation is much nearer to the area and China would have to go much deeper to bring in troops in case of any eventuality. At the same time, sources said that after October, when snowfall starts in the area, both sides would find it difficult to stay put in Doka-La.

Security sources further said that China may keep the standoff on till October as the President of the country Xi Jinping is seeking re-election and after the election, there is every possibility of the standoff coming to an end. Moreover, it is apparent that China was not apprehending resistance from India and now “they are issuing rhetorical statements through the state controlled media.”

However, at the same time, sources admitted that control over the Doka-La area would not only allow China to gain a strong foothold in Bhutan, but it would also give the neighbouring country access to the narrow corridor connecting the Northeast region with the rest of the country and the Government of India is fully aware of the situation and decided to maintain a tough stand on the issue.

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