The reforms vis-a-vis the armed forces approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday have not been influenced by the stand-off with China at Doklam, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said. “A committee led by Lt Gen D.B. Shekatkar (retd) was formed much before this (Doklam stand-off) and its recommendations were under consideration for long,” Jaitley said here. The government had formed the committee to increase/improve the defence forces’ teeth-to-tail ratio. “The Shekatkar Committee submitted its report to the Defence Ministry in December 2016. We have since accepted 65 of its 99 recommendations,” he added. The Minister refused to comment on the overall consequences of the Doklam stand-off (that began on June 16 and continued for 75 days), saying the External Affairs Ministry had already made a statement on the issue. “Given the sensitivity of the issue involved, it is not appropriate for me to comment. The External Affairs Ministry has already made a detailed statement and that is the government’s official position,” Jaitley said. On August 28, the External Affairs Ministry statement said: “In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam. During these communications, we were able to express our views and convey our concerns and interests.
“On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to, and is ongoing.”