Villagers reportedly being moved out of village near Doklam, officials deny reports

India: The Indian Army has reportedly ordered the evacuation of a village close to the Doklam India-Bhutan-China tri-junction.

According to reports in News 18, an online news agency, a few hundred villagers living in Nathang village have been asked to vacate their houses immediately. Nathang is 35 km from the site of the two-month old standoff between Indian and Chinese troops.

“It was not immediately clear if an order has been issued to accommodate thousands of soldiers of the 33 Corp who are reportedly moving from Sukna towards Doklam or whether it was a precautionary measure to avoid civilian casualties in case of a skirmish,” the report said.

The government, however, deny that villagers have been asked to evacuate, the report added.

Villagers of Nathang, a small village with just a few hundred inhabitants, whom the news channel spoke to, confirmed witnessing heavy troop movement in the area of late.

“Neither any village has been evacuated nor proposed by Indian Army to be evacuated in Sikkim,” said a senior army officer.

According to some reports, the Indian Army has called the troop movement in the area a regular maintenance move.

The military is in a confrontational position with the ‘enemy’.

In a recent editorial published in China Daily, India was warned that “the countdown to a clash between the two forces has begun”.

The editorial, titled New Delhi should come to its senses while it has time, went on to state that the window to peacefully resolve the standoff in Doklam was closing as the row enters its seventh week.

“The countdown to a clash between the two forces has begun, and the clock is ticking away the time to what seems to be an inevitable conclusion.”

This is just one of the several vitriolic articles that have appeared in Chinese news agency Xinhua and their newspaper Global Times, in recent past.

The face-off between Indian and Chinese troops though is two months old now.

It started in mid-June in Doklam tri-junction when Indian troops stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the disputed area. China building a road on that site, India feared, would allow Chinese troops to cut India’s access to its northeastern states.

As per China’s claims, it was constructing the road within its own territory.

Since the standoff, India has constantly batted for a dialogue but China has demanded immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Indian troops before a dialogue or peace process is initiated.

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