Amid tension along the Line of Actual Control – the de facto border between India and China – all forces guarding the country’s borders have been asked to remain extra alert. The Home Ministry has called for more vigilance on the India-Nepal border and the tri-junction areas in Uttarakhand and Sikkim, sources said, and extra troops have been sent to strengthen security in some of these areas.
“The Chinese transgression near Ladakh’s Chushul might just be a diversionary tactic, so all forces guarding the borders have been asked to remain extra vigilant,” a senior officer told NDTV.
Sources said there are concerns that China might use its influence with Nepal to create trouble and intelligence agencies have shared inputs on it with the Shastra Seema Bal or SSB and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
The Sikkim tri-junction area, where territories of India, China and Tibet meet, is considered a crucial area. This tri-junction is located on the southern side of Doklam, where the Indian Army was engaged in a long, tense stand-off with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 2017.
The border patrol teams have also been asked to remain extra alert in Uttarakhand near the Kalapani area.
The Home Ministry has asked SSB – which guards Indo-Nepal and Bhutan border – to heighten vigilance. Also, as many as 80 companies of troops have been sent to tri-junction areas in Uttarakhand and Sikkim, a senior bureaucrat told NDTV.
The extra troops, he said, were the ones pulled out recently from Jammu and Kashmir. On August 5 last year, the centre had scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under the constitution and divided it into two Union Territories. Extra troops were sent before that to maintain law and order.
Over the last two months, many skirmishes between SSB and Nepal Guarding Force have been reported. A few days ago, Nepal had raised concertina wires in the Pilibhit area in Uttar Pradesh. “Nepal had put these barbed wires near pillar 8 to 11, but the government took up this matter with the Nepal authorities,” an officer said.
The India-Nepal border is an open border and both countries dissuade each other from putting any such markings, he said. The two nations share a 53-km border in Pilibhit area.
Officials, however, said tensions with Nepal have subsided to an extent after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Nepali counterpart KP Singh Oli on Independence Day.
In the west, the Border Security Force also remains alert. “Recent incidents indicate that China wants to open another front and is using Pakistan as proxy,” said a senior BSF officer, citing the finding of a 20-metre tunnel near the border fence in Jammu sector last week.