Bhutan is caught between a rock and a hard place

World

Bhutan is caught between a rock and a hard place

Despite border disputes between the kingdom and China, it’s doing its best to avert clashes between China and India

Sudhi Ranjan Sen and Archana Chaudhary

With tensions still high along the India-China border, landlocked Bhutan is struggling to maintain its territory and keep both Asian powerhouses happy. 

As Bhutan prepares for border talks with Beijing, the Himalayan kingdom has indicated to India it won’t recognise China’s claims to the Doklam plateau in the discussions, people familiar with the situation said. In 2017 India’s military intervened on Bhutan’s behalf to stop China from building a road in the disputed area overlooking a narrow strip of land that connects India’s northeastern states with the rest of the country. 

China has long offered Bhutan control of areas on their disputed northern border, which has been officially closed for decades, provided it hands over Doklam, the people said. In recent years Beijing has stepped up pressure on Bhutan to resolve the issue, with satellite data collected by Indian intelligence and Bhutanese officials showing China has built military bases and entire villages in areas claimed by Bhutan, they said...

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