China has constructed new villages in Bhutan territory near Doklam in the last year, new satellite images have revealed.
The images show that four villages were built by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in about 100 sq. km. the area between May 2020 and November 2021.
It seems that construction started at the same time when the PLA had ingressed into Indian territory at multiple locations in eastern Ladakh and the Sikkim sector.
The Doklam plateau was in the limelight in 2017 when the Indian Army and China’s PLA were locked in the stand-off for over 70 days. The Chinese had to retreat from the area after the Indian troops contested the plateau.
Doklam is an area of 100 sq. km comprising a plateau and a valley at the tri-junction between India, China and Bhutan. It is circled by the Chumbi Valley of Tibet, Bhutan’s Ha Valley and India’s Sikkim.
In 2017, China was making infrastructural development work at Doklam to which India objected.
China then claimed that there was a boundary dispute between Bhutan and China and to which India had no claims.
However, India refused and stood there matching the deployment of the Chinese troops for 73 days.
Last month, China and Bhutan signed a pact on a three-step roadmap to resolve their boundary disputes. In response, India said that “it has noted the development”.
Boundary negotiations between Bhutan and China began in 1984 and the two sides have held 24 rounds of boundary talks and 10 rounds of meeting at the expert group level.
Earlier, Bhutan had objected several times to Chinese intrusion into their land.