Siliguri: A delegation of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) today arrived on a two-day visit at Sukna in Siliguri, which is some 178 km from Doklam that was the centre of a Sino-Indian dispute last year.
Sukna is the headquarters of Indian Army’s 33 Corps which has jurisdiction over entire north Bengal and Sikkim that includes Doklam. The visit to Sukna by PLA delegation is part of a move initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to strengthen bilateral ties.
The high-level PLA delegation led by Lt Gen Liu Xiaowu, deputy commander of China’s Western Theatre Command landed at Bagdogra Airport by a special military aircraft this afternoon and then headed to Sukna by road.
On the arrival of the 10-member Chinese army delegation, it was accorded a warm welcome by Lt Gen Pradeep M Bali, the General-officer-Commanding of 33 Corps. The delegation will be at Sukna till 5 July when they are scheduled to fly to Kolkata for a visit to the Eastern Command headquarters in the city.
Over the next two days, the PLA delegation will have interactions with their Indian counterparts and discuss the implementation of various agreements to maintain peace and tranquillity on the border.
Given the Doklam standoff of last July-August, Indian allowing the Chinese army delegation access to its Sukna military base attains significance.