The Chinese Communist Party and its boss Xi Jinping have a huge appetite as they continue to attempt to gazump the territories of other nations by violating their sovereignty. After failing in 2017, the PLA has again set its sights on Bhutan after successfully encroaching Nepalese territories. However, India stands tall behind Bhutan and is set to scupper China’s new expansion plans and give China a Doklam 2.0 experience.
The rogue state of China and the embattled Xi Jinping have now set their sights on encroaching on Bhutanese territories as the Chinese government starts making frivolous claims. Just like India, China has a disputed border with Bhutan as the border between China and Bhutan has not been delimited and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) plans to take full advantage of this fact.
After opening upfronts in Ladakh and the South China Sea, the PLA has set the wheels in motion to open up another front in Bhutan during the forthcoming 25th round of boundary talks.
India has already alerted the Bhutanese rulers about the PLA’s nefarious plans with Thimpu deciding on a military contingency plan to foil the PLA. Beijing will use its age-old “10 steps forward, 5 steps back” formula with PLA transgressing in Central Bhutan to make the country agree on a trade-off on already encroached areas in its western part.
Not even in the 24 rounds of talks between the nations since 1984, had China ever claimed sovereignty over Sakteng area which is located close to the border with Arunachal Pradesh. But now Beijing has extended its claim.
“China’s position remains consistent and clear. The boundary between China and Bhutan has not been delimited and there are disputes in the middle, eastern and western sections,” said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
China’s modus operandi is simple, make outrageous claims over some other country’s territory, then offer a package deal, where China ‘sacrifices’ all of its claims but one, and that one claim is the territory that China had always wanted from the start.
During the 25th round of boundary talks with Bhutan, China hopes to gain the crucial tri-juncture area of Doklam. It is pertinent to note that India gave China a bloody nose during the Doklam standoff in 2017 and it appears that Xi Jinping is still licking his wounds. India stood like a rock behind Bhutan against the PLA during the 73-day standoff during the stand-off at Doklam.
China is attempting to bully the minuscule Royal Bhutan Army with the PLA intruding into five areas of western Bhutan and has also laid claim to a new boundary that extends approximately 40 km inside Bhutan.
Now, China is trying to occupy Bhutan’s side of Doklam, which will give China a strategic advantage over India’s chicken-neck corridor and ultimately cut-off India from its North East after failing to do so in 2017.
According to an earlier package deal offered by China, Bhutan would give up its claim on Doklam. However, Bhutan has squarely rejected this deal at the behest of India.
It is important to note that Bhutan’s entire foreign policy is dictated by India with Bhutan being the only Indian neighbour to not join China’s Belt and Road initiative. Bhutan has even resisted Chinese attempts to open an embassy in Thimpu.
China has clearly stated that for it to give up its claim on Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhutan would have to accept China’s claim on Doklam tri-junction area.
China has now laughably made territorial claims which include Bhutan’s 318 sq km in the western sector and 495 sq km in the central sector. China during the talks would “sacrifice” its claims on the central sector and force Bhutan into trade-off and give up the claims on the western sector, which is what China wanted right from the start.
India and Bhutan relations go a long way and China knows that India can derail its diabolical game plan to wrest Doklam out of Bhutan. India has seen through China’s nefarious plans and is standing up to the bully at the LAC. As Xi Jinping attempts to take revenge on his 2017 humiliation, India is all set to rub salts into his wounds.