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Bhutan's PM Remark Concern For India

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 difficult otherwise.

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 of India.

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:
  1. Doklam
  2. Jakarlung Valleys
  3. Pasamlung Valleys
  4. 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 sanctuary.

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:
  1. It gives a strategic advantage in terms of heights China and takes control over the chhumbi valley from the Doklam plateau.
  2. It also gives an easy pass to the jampheri ridge.
  3. It fragile the position of the Indian security forces in Sikkim, which are currently orienting toward the dongkya ranges.
  4. It will also weaken the hold of the Indian security forces in the Siliguri corridor.

The importance of the Sakteng wildlife sanctuary:
  1. Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary provides the bypass of the Tawang sector for the China
  2. From sakteng wildlife sanctuary, it is easy to reach the southern part of Arunachal Pradesh and open two-front war with India
  3. 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 corridors

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.

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