China claims Bhutan land in a ‘bid to pressure India’ on Arunachal Pradesh

China has called the land claimed and controlled by Bhutan as ‘disputed’

In a surprise, Chinese foreign ministry on Monday stated that China-Bhutan boundary has had conflict over eastern, central and western sections for a long time. By doing this, China is claming territory that Bhutans thinks belongs to it.

China’s fresh demand for Bhutan’s territory is part of Beijing’s larger drive to coerce the Himalayan nation into a boundary deal on Beijing’s terms and put more pressure on India, reported the Times of India.

The statement was released in a bid to caution India to keep away from the matters and disputes of China and Bhutan.

Reports suggest that the key could be the proximity Bhutan’s eastern sector has with Arunachal Pradesh in India, therefore, posing a threat to Indian Territory as well.

In this regard, Constantino Xavier, a Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings India in New Delhi, believes that China’s releasing of a statement amid China-India faceoff, depicts China’s aim of creating a wedge between the two countries.

On June 29, China raised an objection to Bhutan’s application for a grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council for Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary which falls under eastern Bhutaan. China has said that this is a disputed area.

Reports said that even though Bhutan received the funds, China’s objection was taken as an act of intimidation as it is the first time China has been making border claims on eastern Bhutan.

In 2017, the PLA attempted to intrude into the Dokhlam plateau which is Bhutanese territory which led to intervention by India so as to help Bhutan in showing up strength to the Chinese forces.

This year, reports have been received regarding China building another road along Torsa/Amo Chu.

Pertinently, Indian and Chinese soldiers continue to be eyeball to eyeball at the Line of Actual Control at Galwan Valley, Hot Springs, Depsang Plains and Pangong Tso in Ladakh and at Naku La in North Sikkim.

And now China has reportedly started creating trouble for Indian patrols in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) area between patrolling points 10 and 13 and the Demchok region in eastern Ladakh.

The armies of India and China are locked in a tense standoff in eastern Ladakh, where China has reportedly occupied 60 sq. kilometres of territory claimed by India.

A Chinese diplomat reacting to the standoff in Ladakh has said that the move is linked to the Indian government’s unilateral decision to scrap Article 370 in August last year.

The move changed the laws that prohibited Indians from buying land in Kashmir, and made the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir defunct, triggering fears of demographic change in the Muslim majority region of Kashmir.

When India scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 last year, the Chinese foreign ministry had issued two statements criticising the development, including one that focused on the splitting of the state into union territories.

This statement, while urging India to be “cautious” on the border issue and to avoid “actions that further complicate the border issue”, said: “China has always opposed India’s inclusion of Chinese territory in India’s administrative jurisdiction in the western part of the Sino-Indian border.” This was a reference to the area in Ladakh that New Delhi claims but is controlled by Beijing.


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