Expansionist China now tests its might in Bhutan
New Delhi, Sep 15: The People's Liberation Army is now eyeing territory in Bhutan. This move comes after China increased its present along the Line of Actual Control and the South China Sea.
Thimpu has been sensitised about the developments. Bhutan is centra; to India's national security as it lies next to the Siliguri corridor. In case of any sort of compromise by Bhutan, it would have an adverse effect on India's defences in the area.
The territorial claims by China in Bhutan include 318 sq km in the western sector and 495 km in the central sector. The PLA continues to construct roads and improve military infrastructure in a bid to intimidate the Bhutan Army. The PLA is also indulging in aggressive patrolling and denial of access, people familiar with the developments explained to OneIndia.
Following the 2017 Doklam standoff, the PLA has intruded into 5 areas of Western Bhutan and laid claim to a new boundary which extends around 40 km into Bhutan. China has also improved defences, constructed roads and helipads for troop movement.
Further the PLA has also enhanced surveillance in North Doklam. It has installed surveillance cameras and continues with aggressive military posturing. It may be recalled that China had recently objected to Bhutan's Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) Project on the ground that it was located in a disputed border area.
Bhutan lodged a strong protest with China after the representative from Beijing sought to block a grant from the Global Investment Facility for the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan.
At a virtual meeting of the GEF Council, Beijing's representative said that the sanctuary was in an area, which was part of the disputed territory between China and Bhutan and was on the agenda of the China-Bhutan boundary talks.
The Chinese further opposed the GEF fund to Bhutan for the sanctuary. Though Bhutan and Beijing have been in talks to settle the boundary dispute since 1984, the territorial dispute between the two was limited to 764 sq kilometres of area. However China never registered a claim on the sanctuary or any other area in eastern Bhutan.
"The Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is an integral and sovereign territory of Bhutan and at no point during the boundary discussions between Bhutan and China has it featured as a disputed area," Bhutan said while rejecting the claim made by the Chinese.