India said on Tuesday that the deployment of Army tanks in Sikkim, which have been there for many years, is "not a sign of mounting tension" with China.
"It is not a sign of mounting tension....it is a sign that your government is determined to protect the borders of India and takes its responsibilities seriously," Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said in Thiruvananthpuram while reacting to media reports on the matter.
"There is no additional tension (between India and China). We want good relations with our neighbours. But we are prepared to ensure that our borders and country are secure,"Tharoor added. Army officials in Delhi said the Russian-made T-72 tanks have been deployed in high altitude areas of North Sikkim for many years in defensive roles. "A squadron of the tanks has been there in high altitude areas in North Sikkim for many years now and it is part of our defensive plans. Earlier we used to have our T-55 tanks there and around three years ago, they were replaced by a squadron of T-72s, which are heavier tanks," they said. They said that no tanks have been deployed in the locality called 'Finger area', which is a one kilometre stretch of land on the border with China.