Arunachal Pradesh India China
Arunachal PradeshReuters

The Doklam standoff at the Indo-China border near Nathu La, Sikkim, made major headlines in 2017, and while the troops of both the countries may have withdrawn from the region, China doesn't really seem in a mood to back down. It is now being said that Chinese soldiers crossed about 200 metres into the Indian Territory in Arunachal Pradesh at the end of December and were stopped by Indian soldiers.

While the incident was first spoken about by locals of the region, security officials have now confirmed the incursion and said that Chinese soldiers even brought along materials for road construction, which have now been left behind. However, the official clarified that there was "no face-off now."

"The Chinese have increased their road construction activities in the area in recent past," the official told the Hindustan Times. Residents of the region also revealed that the Indian soldiers stopped the Chinese troops near the Bising village and took away their equipment, which also included two excavators.

Speaking of the reported incursion, Vijay Taram, a lawyer and green activist based in Pasighat, headquarters of the East Siang district, told the daily that the Indian government needs to ramp up its activities in Arunachal and provide the state with good infrastructure. The fact that these regions haven't witnessed much development "is encouraging China to occupy Indian land as they have already built a two-lane road to the border at many points," he added.

However, the deputy commissioner of Upper Siang has said that there were no reports of Chinese incursion in the region. "Our officials in Tuting subdivision have not reported any Chinese incursion. There is no word from the armed forces too," HT quoted Duli Kamduk as saying.

While China is not really known to carry out incursions in the winter, things have been different this time. It was earlier reported that about 1,800 Chinese army personnel are present at the Doklam region for the winter and have also constructed two helipads. The PLA has reportedly also set up huts, shelters and stores to survive the biting cold. Strangely, the Chinese army has reportedly never camped in the region during the winters, and mostly withdrew by November.

siang river
Siang river in Arunachal PradeshWikimedia Commons

Indian security sources told the Times of India that while the standoff might have been sorted out peacefully, the "almost permanent stationing of People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops in the region," came with it.

"Earlier, PLA patrols would come to Doklam, which is disputed between China and Bhutan, between April-May and October-November every year to mark their presence and lay claim to the area before going back," the source told TOI. "Now, after the 73-day eyeball-to-eyeball troop confrontation at Doklam between India and China ended on August 28, the PLA troops have stayed put in what we consider to be Bhutanese territory for the first time this winter."

However, quelling fears that the dispute might just come up again, the source clarified that there were no security concerns and that the "status quo prevails at the earlier face-off site."