New Delhi: A bulk of the troops of the Sukna-based 33 Corps have been or are in the process of being moved to the Indo-China frontier in Sikkim even as the controversy over the Doklam plateau at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction continues to surface from time to time.
Eastern Command army sources revealed that all three divisions under the 33 Corps, which is stationed in Sukna, near Siliguri in West Bengal, have been deployed on the Sino-Indian border.
The troop movement from Sukna began about 20-25 days ago. The most important and vital elements of the corps have moved up and taken position in designated “Op Areas”. The Movement “Has More to Do With Posturing”
The troops are at varying depths of 20 kms to 500 metres from the India-China border in north and east Sikkim. Some units were given four days’ written notice to move to the upper reaches while others have been handed out as little as six hours’ notice to move up.
The deployment, according to sources, is taking place stealthily so as not to attract attention, either at the national or international level. This is being described as a “trickle up” method.
A corps is made up of three divisions. The number of troops, including combat and noncombat soldiers, is between 30-40,000. The 17th mountain division is stationed in Gangtok anyway.
While the troop movement began a few days ago, the official information for the deployment was shared with mid-ranking officers on 7 August. The sources said that 60 percent of the corps has moved up to Sikkim as of today, but the movement “has more to do with posturing”.
It is said that the heavy deployment, which comes in the wake of substantial Indian troop (non-threatening in nature) build-up immediately after the Doklam issue burst on the international scene, is in response to heightened and quick construction of bunkers and other military fortifications by the PLA in Tibet over the past few weeks.