Bhutan PM Lotay Tshering comment raises concern for India and his statement
on China having a stake in finding a resolution to the territorial dispute is
likely to be deeply problematic for India. As we know that India has very
strategic ties with Bhutan India not only ties with Bhutan but also shares
common cultures but loyal Tshering's comment saying that China has equal say in
resolving the Doklam issue is problematic. according to the Bhutan pm remarks
china is the third party in solving the Doklam issue.
The Doklam issue was a very hot topic in 2017. China mainly uses salami-slicing
strategies for its neighbors. china's salami slicing refers to the strategy by
which the government of China uses small provocations and this provocation does
not cause justify war, but produces a much larger action that would have been
As we know that Bhutan plays an important role in the strategic and geographical
factors. Doklam has a very important geographical location as from Doklam china
can easily notice the army mobilization from the Siliguri corridor, which is
also known as the chicken neck of India. Siliguri corridors are the only way
that connects India to its seven sisters which are also known as the northeast
Indian And Bhutan Relation
Bhutan is the largest beneficiary of India's foreign aid. If we take the data
from the annual union financial budget 2023, the External affairs ministry of
India offers Rs 2400 crore which constituted 41.04 percent of MEA'S development
assistance. Bhutan signs a treaty with British India in 1910, allowing the
British to guide its foreign policy and defense. Bhutan also became the first
country which recognizes India's independence in 1947 and make a close
relationship with India. on August 1949, Bhutan signs a new treaty with India in
which both nations never interfere in International affairs and India see the
foreign policy of Bhutan and also the defense sector.
Indian military training team (IMTRAT) based in Bhutan to train the royal army
of Bhutan. but in 1972 Bhutan slowly went towards an independent nation joining
the united nations in 1971 and asking for more sovereignty in their foreign
policies. In 1979 Bhutan also votes with China's affirmation regardless of
India's opposition to the topic of Cambodia. but in 2007 Bhutan signed a new
treaty with India in which Bhutan no more take Indian guidance in their foreign
policy and not required India's permission over arms imports earlier required.
Currently, India operates three hydropower projects in Bhutan and three are
under construction work.
China's Strategy For The Bhutan
To understand why the pm remark is concerning for India we have to first
understand what is China's strategy for Bhutan. now for this, we have to first
learn what is the point of conflicts between China and Bhutan. there are four
points of conflict between China and Bhutan mainly and these points of conflict
are given below:
- Jakarlung Valleys
- Pasamlung Valleys
- Sakteng Wildlife Sanctury
Now as we know Doklam has very strategic importance for India .doklam is only
68 km away from the Sikkim border and it is also very near the Chicken Neck of
India .doklam also gives advantages in the form of heights, as the area of the
chicken neck is only 22 km wide and mainly plain areas.
So after getting used to the heights of the Doklam one can easily point out the
mobilization of the army and strategic weapons. the chicken neck of India is the
only way to reach the northern state of India so this narrow pass also plays an
important role for India. secondly, the sakteng wildlife sanctuary which is in
the eastern part of Bhutan is also a newly disputed area between Bhutan and
China. this also has strategic importance as it is on the western side of the
Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh.
If China gets the sakteng wildlife sanctuary then they can easily bypass the
Tawang sector and directly reach the southern side of Tawang and Arunachal
Pradesh. the remaining two areas, jakarlung and pasamlung are on the northern
side of India and they have no direct contact with the Indian border but
area-wise those areas are much more than the Doklam and sakteng wildlife
So, china is offering a deal to Bhutan to get the jakarlung and pasamlung which
is big in area, and release the Doklam and sakteng wildlife sanctuary for China
. as China knows that these areas are used as an important strategic point
against India that's why China is offering such lucrative deal to Bhutan.
Concern For The India
In 1996, during the talks with Bhutan, China was said to have offered these
areas of jakarlung and pasamlung valleys (about 459 sq km)in the northern part
of Bhutan, then Bhutan turned down the offers. China believes that Bhutan was
acting under coercion from India at that time. The concern came now when
Bhutan's PM remarked that China is also one of the parties in the peace talks.
It can be assumed from Bhutan's current statement that bhutan also wants to talk
with China regarding the disputed areas.
The Importance Of The Doklam Plateau For The China:
The importance of the Sakteng wildlife sanctuary:
- It gives a strategic advantage in terms of heights China and takes
control over the chhumbi valley from the Doklam plateau.
- It also gives an easy pass to the jampheri ridge.
- It fragile the position of the Indian security forces in Sikkim, which
are currently orienting toward the dongkya ranges.
- It will also weaken the hold of the Indian security forces in the
- Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary provides the bypass of the Tawang sector for
- From sakteng wildlife sanctuary, it is easy to reach the southern part
of Arunachal Pradesh and open two-front war with India
- The newly disputed area also uses as making the pressure on other
countries. China announced that area, as more disputed than the previously
disputed area, becomes easy to solve with peace and divides it in half.
So here we see that, China used a strategy to counter India by putting
pressure on bhutan. As we Know that bhutan is a country that lives in peace and
harmony,so they do not war, but China wanted to use the land of bhutan against
India. So this area of the Doklam and the saktenG wildlife sanctuary is a
concern for India, which India should taken very seriously and take action as
soon as possible.
What should be India's response?
- India should upgrade their bases at Bagdogra and Hasimara which are
situated at the Chichen neck of West Bengal state.
- India should more focus on the indigenization of weapons because at the
time of war equipment of weapons are not easy to get from other countries
because at that time it depends on the foreign policy of that country
- Increase the number of army personnel in the Haa district of the Bhutan
- India should change foreign policy and more focus on the quad groups to
counter India in indo Pacific regions
- Deployment of the long-range artillery in the plains of the Siliguri
From the above discussion, we can conclude that China used a salami-slicing
technique for their neighbors to declare particular areas to be disputed. As in
the case of bhutan china offered bhutan those areas which are less significant
and wanted those areas which have very strategic positions regards India. India
should be more focused on the area of the northeast and mainly the area of the
chicken neck and make some good relations with Bangladesh so that it can be used
as the bypass during the time of the emergency.
Please Drop Your Comments