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  • China's army conducts military exercises 'to strike awe in India'

    China warns of 'all appropriate measures' against US trade probe
    The thief warns the police. ;-)

    Doklam standoff: Here's why Japan's open support to India may spell trouble for China


    'Extremely dissatisfied' China blames India for Ladakh stone-pelting
    Last edited by Oracle; 21 Aug 17,, 15:58.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!

    Comment


    • Originally posted by n21 View Post
      PLA can fire rockets in to Indian positions, because they want low casualties fight. That is a given.

      What if Indians retaliate and target transport links to Tibet? and cutoff the plateau from mainland?

      The route to Tibet has many bridges and long distance from mainland. What if Indians launch a offensive against the border units drawing in units deployed in Lhasa?

      Would the Chinese allow a Tibet cutoff from mainland and not enough troops to quell a potential rebellion?
      Heh, they have already foreseen this that is why the talk abut supporting NE separatists..it would be a temporary delay. A rebellion needs support to thrive, how long can it last

      Comment


      • Can't help thinking that all of this hot air is 100% for domestic consumption in China. Being economical with facts, making them up when expedient to show the CCP is ever powerful as the 19th congress comes up.

        The question then is what does it mean for the region. If Xi is consolidating his leadership and transforming the country from authoritarian to quasi dictatorship then everybody in China has to fall in line.

        The region as well ?

        what can we expect. An ever more assertive China and the last ten years were actually much easier as they systematically in the future go about defeating whatever opposition stands in the way of Chinese dominance.

        Risky path if China is intent on altering the balance of power in south asia by using military force.
        Last edited by Double Edge; 21 Aug 17,, 21:43.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
          Heh, they have already foreseen this that is why the talk abut supporting NE separatists..it would be a temporary delay. A rebellion needs support to thrive, how long can it last
          #1. You talk like a diplomat. Are you a diplomat?

          #2. Are you freaking kidding me?
          Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Oracle View Post
            #1. You talk like a diplomat. Are you a diplomat?

            #2. Are you freaking kidding me?
            What is wrong with the question ?

            Think of the Taliban or Haqqanis, only way they survive is they have safe harbour.

            Where is that going to be for this Tibetan rebellion ?

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
              What is wrong with the question ?

              Think of the Taliban or Haqqanis, only way they survive is they have safe harbour.

              Where is that going to be for this Tibetan rebellion ?
              There is no need to piss me off.
              Answer the questions first.
              Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!

              Comment


              • I am tired, fucking tired of how the Northeast is, was, now. Food, sheter, language.

                No fucking idiot should have a chance to visit the NE. But then, I am not making the rules.
                Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!

                Comment


                • Article does not articulate what Japanese public support for India entails in concrete terms. We have a meeting of minds. What else. That they expect us to also support them publicly in their next dispute with China is a given. Modi has made statements in support of freedom of navigation with Obama already.

                  If you read the countering Chinese coercion report posted earlier, it becomes clear that treaty alliances increase response times. Whatever the Japanese do or plan to do has to be cleared with the US beforehand. The Senkaku affair tested the mechanics of that collaboration and it was found to be wanting. The Chinese move & react faster to whatever comes. Its become more streamlined but i can't help thinking that more freedom for the Japanese forces and less obligation on the part of the US would make for more effective responses. Abe has been moving in this direction recently but the question of support for a more independent self defense force remains to be seen.

                  Example of an even more complicated relationship is dealing with N.Korea. Here the US needs to clear what it wants with the south and the Japanese, even longer response times as there are more cooks in the kitchen.

                  With the first example Japanese response gets cramped and with the second the US response. Irony is, China is the one calling for status quo when it comes to N.Korea.

                  In contrast India and Vietnam have it easier but then they are left holding the bucket and there is no third party. If its hard to figure out the CCP then the Bhutanese are even more opaque as they have said little to date which allows more space for India to manouver. All i read are speculations based on what some Bhutanese bloggers say. But the results are plain to see. The coordination between India and Bhutan is tight and Indian actions are more fluid. Result ? the Chinese are on the back foot for the first time. This is why they want to encourage diplomatic relations between Bhutan & the P5. Complicates an Indian response. Advantage China.
                  Last edited by Double Edge; 21 Aug 17,, 17:56.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Oracle View Post
                    There is no need to piss me off.
                    Answer the questions first.
                    1 . no i am not a diplomat. Why was this question even necessary

                    2. kidding you about what. If chinese chances of instigating NE separatist groups are marginal then so too will be the longevity of any Tibetan rebellion. THAT is my point. See how the neighbours have assisted here. The Butanese in 2003 where the king personally lead Bhutanese forces to evict ULFA and associates from Bhutanese territory. The Burmese allowing an operation inside their territory to take out insurgent camps. The Banglas assisting us with separatists living in Bangladesh. Not a good time to be a separatist in the NE is it. That time has come and gone.

                    3. i'm not trying to piss you off
                    Last edited by Double Edge; 21 Aug 17,, 17:19.

                    Comment


                    • Let's get some clarity in here. China wanting to suppport NE insurgents to what end ?

                      nuisance operations for the Indian army. What good is that

                      do these groups really think they can win independence and China will fight their war for them. Big hope

                      Mysterious Motives: India’s Raids on the Burma Border | The Irrawaddy | Jun 30 2015

                      So is China involved with the Indian rebels, as alleged in many press reports in India? Perhaps not directly, but it is evident that Chinese security services, at the very least, are turning a blind eye to the traffic—which would serve China’s geopolitical interests in the region. Apart from sheltering Barua, Chinese intelligence officers are also known to have visited the camp near Taga on more than one occasion.

                      The Chinese may not want to set India’s northeast ablaze, but it is in Beijing’s interest to cause frictions and disruptions in Burma’s relations with India. Over the past four years, Burma has distanced itself from its old ally China—and established closer contacts not only with the West but also India. A closer, more cordial relationship between Burma and India is not in China’s interest. Instability along the border—rebel raids into India and retaliatory, Indian cross-border attacks—would serve that purpose.

                      It is to China’s advantage that Burma’s authorities are paying only scant interest in events along the country’s western border. As long as the Indian rebels are not bothering the Burma Army, they are being left alone. According to a testimony by an Indian soldier who took part in the June cross-border raids and published in the Indian press, the operation was kept secret even for the Burma Army officers in the area so they would not tip off the Indian rebels in advance. Several of those officers are collecting protection money from the Indian rebels, the soldier alleged. It is also clear that the Burmese government was not informed about the Indian cross-border raids until after they had taken place.

                      For this and other more compelling reasons, it is highly unlikely that Burma would agree to take part in any joint operations with the Indian Army. On the formal level, the Burmese government does have a ceasefire agreement with the NSCN-K—and while the attacks in India and the cross-border raids into Burma were taking place, Khaplang himself was recuperating in a Rangoon hospital, where he was visited by no other than Aung Min, the Burmese government’s chief peace negotiator.

                      Perhaps more importantly, the Burma Army is already stretched thin on too many fronts in Kachin and Shan states, where it for several years has been battling Kachin, Palaung and Kokang rebels—and there suffered extremely heavy casualties. The Burma Army has neither the resources nor the manpower to become engaged in yet another battlefront in the country. Fighting India’s wars is not a priority for the Burma Army; it’s not even on its agenda. And if the Burma Army were to agree to joint operations with India, it would be tantamount to admitting what the Burmese government has consistently denied—that rebels from India have bases on the Burmese side of the border—and such an admission is extremely unlikely to happen.

                      Thus, we may see more cross-border raids into India and Indian counterattacks into Burma’s territory. So China may, in the end, get what it wants—the mayhem will continue along the Indo-Burma border—and that, as long as Burma remains in a total denial of the actual situation on the ground, is bound to have an adverse impact on any future relations between New Delhi and Naypyidaw.
                      The target is India - Burma relations. A common pattern emerges. The insurgents are just tools to that end. Anyone who thinks raids into Burma by Indian troops is cool needs to rethink.

                      So how have NE insurgent attacks fared over the last few years, what are the trends



                      Down so long as talks are ongoing

                      The success story,to a large extent, is not due to the achievements of the Indian state’s counterinsurgency operations but mostly due to the cooperation extended by Bangladesh, which arrested and handed over a number of top insurgent leaders to India, even when both countries did not have an extradition treaty. A peace that has been achieved mostly due to the good gestures of one neighbour (Dhaka) can indeed be disturbed by another neighbour (Beijing).

                      Thus New Delhi’s strategic relationship with Myanmar becomes extremely important. A range of treaties between the two countries for counter terrorism cooperation exists. Yet little has been done to implement these on the ground. Indian diplomacy must address this inadequacy and move to a proactive mode. A far stronger Indo-Myanmar tie is needed to counter Beijing’s designs.
                      China’s New Game in India’s Northeast | Mantraya | Jul 04 2017

                      Guess where Modi is headed early next month ; )

                      Gratuitous Global Times leader : After Bhutan Indian attempt to annex Myanmar : D
                      Last edited by Double Edge; 21 Aug 17,, 22:37.

                      Comment


                      • Q: In 2015, what did China do when the Burmese air force bombed Kokang rebels residing on the Chinese side of the border ? (yes, you read that right, Burmese air force crossed the Chinese border to conduct a raid on a rebel camp)

                        A : Censored online comments on Chinese social media protesting china's inaction (!)


                        Why China can’t get too angry at Burma for dropping bombs | WAPO | Mar 17 2015

                        After a bomb from a Burmese aircraft killed four Chinese near the China-Burma border, many Chinese have been expressing their outrage on the Internet -- not only against the Burmese government but against their own for not taking a harder stance.

                        So far, Chinese leaders have complained to Burma, also known as Myanmar, about the bombing, which occurred on Chinese soil, and sent a few jets on a symbolic patrol of the border, but they haven't gone much further. And while Chinese leaders have often eagerly fanned the flames of nationalistic anger in the past, they have tried hard to tamp down such sentiments in this case -- going as far as censoring online posts about the incident and paying off the victims' families.

                        The surprising restraint highlights the delicate nature of China's relationship these days with Burma. China has been trying to preserve and rebuild its ties with Burma in recent years amid that country's transition from an authoritarian, military-run government and its surprising overtures to the West
                        Comments in Chinese social media have ranged from sarcastic to mocking to outright demanding.

                        "Is this because the Chinese people are so cheap and can only die for nothing?" "All Chinese military is good for is drinking Maotai [a kind of luxury wine used to bribe corrupt officials]?" “Imagine how this would have played out if the bombing happened to the U.S.?”

                        As of Tuesday, many online comments had already been censored. China's local government has also paid each victim's family $3,200 as compensation.

                        Even China's most nationalistic paper, the Global Times -- which is published by China's official People's Daily -- has tried to ease public anger. On Monday, an opinion piece argued, "Your brain must be injected with water if you think Myanmar's military is dropping bombs on purpose."

                        China, it argued, is not like the United States and will not go around killing people for little reason.
                        The CCP can whip up sentiment when it suits and tamp it down as well
                        Last edited by Double Edge; 22 Aug 17,, 21:07.

                        Comment


                        • In the Tri-Junction Entanglement, What Does Bhutan Want?

                          BY P. STOBDAN ON 11/07/2017


                          People in Bhutan seem to think it is time to resolve the dispute with China once and for all, without pandering to Indian interests.

                          As the India-China standoff persists, the key question is where Bhutan actually stands. India’s claim that Bhutan is fully with India on the issue seems questionable. The official statement issued by the Bhutanese government on June 29 does not make the country’s position explicit.

                          The 1949 Friendship Treaty (updated in 2007) guides the contemporary Indo-Bhutan relationship and aims to ensure India’s non-interference in Bhutan’s internal affairs. Article 2 of the 1949 version, however, entrusted India with the power to guide Bhutan’s foreign policy. But Article 2 of the 2007 version freed Bhutan from seeking India’s guidance on foreign policy and obtaining permission over arms imports, among other things. The article now only says that India and Bhutan “shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other.”

                          Even before the revised treaty, Bhutan’s UN membership in 1971 had fundamentally impaired the sacredness of the old Article 2. Bhutan is an independent country. It raised its diplomatic representation in New Delhi to the full ambassadorial level in 1971.

                          Notwithstanding all the geopolitical pulls and pressures, Bhutan has steadfastly stood behind India as its most reliable ally. But the impression among the Bhutanese now is that India has been coming in the way of Bhutan reaffirming its status as an independent state, especially in the foreign policy arena.

                          People in Bhutan think that India has for too long prevented their country from normalising diplomatic ties and negotiating a border settlement with China. India, on its part, fears that any boundary deal will not only impact Indian security but also impinge on its own negotiating position with China on the boundary issue. From Bhutan’s perspective, India’s position is adversely impacting its ties with China. This is the main issue that is leading to complexities and confusion, including the standoff at Doklam.
                          However, it appears that this is not the first time the Chinese have intervened and built roads not only in disputed territory, but also inside Bhutan.

                          hutan’s shares a 470-km-long border with China and according to some reports, over 25% of this border remained disputed for decades. China wanted Bhutan to cede a 269-square-km area in west Bhutan, including Dramana, Shakhatoe and Sinchulung, in exchange for which it had offered to give Bhutan a 495-square-km area in Pasamlung and Jakarlung.

                          In the Doklam plateau in the west, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is known to have made frequent intrusions since the mid-1960s. Talks with China began in 1972, but since 1984, negotiations became bilateral without India’s participation. The two countries managed to sign an Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity in the Bhutan-China Border Areas in 1998. Thus far, 24 rounds of discussion have taken place under the agreement. The last round was held in August 2016 in Beijing between Chinese vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin and Bhutanese foreign minister Lyonpo Damcho Dorji. However, the Chinese have recently claimed that Bhutan and China have a basic consensus on the functional conditions and demarcation of their border region.

                          At the heart of the issue is the lingering suspicion in India about the possibility of Bhutan ceding the Doklam plateau – located on the strategic tri-junction of Bhutan, the Chumbi Valley in China and the state of Sikkim in India. The area is extremely critical to India’s security as it overlooks the Siliguri corridor. China, on the other hand, has held a tough position on Doklam and has been upgrading infrastructure networks, including roads in nearby areas, on the lines that it has built in Aksai Chin.

                          Bhutan’s slowly-changing stance

                          Until recently, as per the treaty obligation, Bhutan has kept India’s interest in mind and evaded a settlement with China. The general approach has been that the country could neither bargain nor impose its will on the matter, and therefore would go along with India and China’s mutual understanding.

                          Through this conflict, Bhutan has appeared to want to settle the Doklam issue once and for all, and thereafter maintain friendly and equidistant ties with both India and China.We must note that Bhutanese position has been changing in a subtle way, especially the manner in which their boundary negotiation with China was proceeding without the knowledge of India. According to Govinda Rizal, a Bhutan watcher, soon after the Druk king had stepped down in 2007, the interim government produced a map without Kulakangri (Bhutan’s tallest peak), indicating that it had unofficially ceded the region to China. Rizal contended that during 2008-2013, Bhutan neither accepted the swap nor tried to regain the ‘cartographically ceded‘ land.

                          Nevertheless, Rizal said the two had agreed to the border demarcations in Pasamlung and Jakarlung. The settlement in the north was to pave the way to determine the course of action to settle the western border in Doklam. It seems that agreement on a political compromise had been reached during the 19th round of boundary talks held in January 2010. Perhaps this was also the outcome of the meeting between the then Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Thinley and the then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro.he agreement also perhaps included the decision to establish diplomatic ties. The Chinese claimed that China and Bhutan gained remarkable headway on the boundary issue during the 20th round of talks held in Thimphu on August 10, 2012.

                          According to Rizal, China had offered Thinley a financial deal for the border settlement. However, some news reports suggested that China had already seized over 8,000 square km and Bhutan’s total area has reduced to 38,390 square km from 46,500 square km since 2010. In fact, many suspected this was the reason for India’s disappointment, which resulted in it supporting (or even instigating) the defeat of Thinley and his party in the 2013 general elections in Bhutan and thus put a spoke in the wheel of the settlement.

                          Several Bhutanese analysts have argued that neither Bhutan nor India has a strong historical argument to lay claim over Doklam, Sinchulumpa, Dramana and Shakhatoe vis--vis China. Bhutan’s claims, they contend, are based on an “imaginary line drawn on paper by some British surveyors – like those of the McMahon Lines – without actual verification on the ground,” wrote Yeshey Dorji, a well-known commentator.

                          Popular perception, then, is that Bhutan has no military capability and strategic considerations to hold on to Doklam, Jakarlung and the Pasamlung areas. Moreover, China has not even considered disputes in the Jakarlung and Pasamlung areas. But Doklam is different; as Dorji said, “Make no mistake – this issue of the Doklam Plateau is very, very scary! Is there something that the Indians and the Chinese know about this track of desolate and frigid wilderness that we Bhutanese don’t?”

                          Bhutanese perceptions are getting visibly louder on social media and the growing aspirations of the people suggest that Bhutan’s ability to withstand pressures from both China and India has become paramount.

                          An Indian view that offended Bhutan

                          The aversion – if not dislocation – among the Indian security establishment on the matter, which was noted by Dorji, was also brought out in an article, ‘Dealing with Doklam‘, by former Indian army lieutenant general Prakash Katoch. The 2013 article suggested, “The king of Bhutan may consider selling the Doklam Plateau to India so that this bone of contention is resolved permanently”. His recommendation strongly provoked Bhutanese commentators, who decided that this was simply ‘lunacy’ coming from the Indian think tank circuit. It is “insane for anyone to believe that a nation would sell her land …..that too at the heart of the dispute and even while China is sitting on that very piece of land,” a commentator wrote. “Why such an experienced and senior high ranking military officer would be driven to such insane thoughts of desperation?”

                          The prevailing sentiment in Bhutan is in favour of resolving the issue with China amicably without further delay, so that the country can have a peaceful boundary with its northern neighbour as it has with India. It has been clearly indicated that the Bhutanese are getting impatient on the boundary question. This is also a sign of their growing disenchantment with India’s non-reciprocity to their deep commitments for Indian security concerns. As the commentator quoted above wrote, “Do not force the chicken to fly the coop. It is bad foreign policy.” Many also conveyed in private their impatience for change, saying Bhutan made many sacrifices for India which were in fact detrimental to its own interests.

                          he Bhutanese have expressed the fear that a delayed resolution could lead to China toughening its position and reviving maximal territorial claims, that would result in Bhutan losing land as far as Kanglung to the east and Samdrup Jongkhar to the south. Chinese maps show the Arunachal Pradesh boundary, which China claims as its territory, extending up to Kanglung in east Bhutan. According to Rizal, Bhutan might lose another 4,500 square km or up to 10% of the country’s area if it fails to resolve disputes with China.

                          In June 2013, PLA troops made an intrusion through the Sektang region in the east and the Pang La region in the north, and built three posts inside Bhutanese territory. Rizal says, “Every year when India reports about the Chinese assertions, they provide impetus to push in more military men into Bhutan.”

                          Bhutanese authority generally remains mute and the media has neither the courage nor the concept to report incursions, he said. The only source of information for the world outside is through media in exile, like the Bhutan News Service.

                          What China is thinking

                          China has long desired an independent Bhutanese stand without Indian advocacy and interference on the boundary issue. Chinese academia often dubbed India’s interference as hegemony in South Asia. When Chinese vice foreign minister Liu visited Thimphu in August 2013, he talked about broadening relations. Chinese officials always indicated that for any steps to settle the boundary dispute once and for all, establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries is necessary. The Chinese have for years wanted to open an embassy in Thimphu. It had promised to upgrade the Bhutanese consulate in Hong Kong to an embassy, to promote increased tourist flows and exchange of visits, among other things.

                          Beijing finds itself in a strange position in not having diplomatic ties with neighbouring Bhutan, which has lately widened its foreign relations with 53 countries, including Japan, another adversary of China. However, since the change of government in Thimphu, no new country has been added to the list of states Bhutan has established diplomatic ties. The last country added was Oman, on March 15, 2013.

                          The key to Beijing’s strategy so far has been to dilute the Indian dominant position, seeking parity in the eyes of Bhutan. Towards this goal, Beijing worked first on its diplomacy by deciding to vote for Bhutan’s membership to the UN in 1971. Later, China managed to bring Bhutan to the negotiating table on the boundary issue and lately she may have perhaps influenced Thimphu to have Article 2 of 1949 Friendship Treaty with India removed altogether. Many Chinese analysts view Bhutan as already neutralised. Hordes of Bhutanese students are being offered scholarships in China. Many young Bhutanese frequently travel to Chinese cities for business and other reasons.

                          The view is that New Delhi pegged the boundary issue with the financial packages it offered to Bhutan so far. Despite a one-third cut in funds for Bhutan, the Himalayan kingdom still gets Rs 3,714.13 crore of the total 6,479.13 crore or 57% allotted for India’s foreign aid budget during FY 2017-18 disbursed by the Ministry of External Affairs.

                          It was widely suspected that Thimphu’s discreet deals with China led to this financial cut and the election interference by India in 2013.

                          Clearly, the next election in Bhutan in October 2018 will be fought on pro- versus anti-Indian slogans.

                          Prime Minister Narendra Modi, like Nehru, had reportedly promised India’s continued security guarantee to Bhutan against any possible expansionist designs. Whether the Bhutanese still consider China as posing a real threat to them is the question, however..

                          P. Stobdan, a former Indian ambassador, is an expert on Himalayan affairs.

                          https://thewire.in/156180/bhutan-doklam-border-china/

                          Comment


                          • Whether the Bhutanese still consider China as posing a real threat to them is the question, however..
                            then why are they in fear over the below common pressure sales tactic of settle now or lose more later

                            Bhutanese have expressed the fear that a delayed resolution could lead to China toughening its position and reviving maximal territorial claims, that would result in Bhutan losing land as far as Kanglung to the east and Samdrup Jongkhar to the south. Chinese maps show the Arunachal Pradesh boundary, which China claims as its territory, extending up to Kanglung in east Bhutan. According to Rizal, Bhutan might lose another 4,500 square km or up to 10% of the country’s area if it fails to resolve disputes with China.
                            Explain again where is the threat coming from ?

                            In the end it will go to the king who will have to take a call. Given he and former kings have held off pressure over many decades now why would he suddenly buckle. I doubt election results will change things much. If China increases pressure their intent will become even more obvious.

                            China says open diplomatic relations then there will be border resolution. Listen to the Bhuntanese PM's reply..

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwMg73IaLeg&t=7m10s

                            The key to Beijing’s strategy so far has been to dilute the Indian dominant position, seeking parity in the eyes of Bhutan. Towards this goal, Beijing worked first on its diplomacy by deciding to vote for Bhutan’s membership to the UN in 1971. Later, China managed to bring Bhutan to the negotiating table on the boundary issue and lately she may have perhaps influenced Thimphu to have Article 2 of 1949 Friendship Treaty with India removed altogether. Many Chinese analysts view Bhutan as already neutralised. Hordes of Bhutanese students are being offered scholarships in China. Many young Bhutanese frequently travel to Chinese cities for business and other reasons.
                            Article 2 was modified because it was increasingly irrelevant. Nothing to do with China. Ever since Bhutan entered the UN in '71 they have voted different to India at the UNGA numerous times.

                            The Article 2 of the treaty reads, “The Government of India undertakes to exercise no interference in the internal administration of Bhutan. On its part the Government of Bhutan agrees to be guided by the advice of the Government of India in regard to its external relations.” Does this treaty reduce Bhutan - one of Asia’s oldest and un-colonized nations into a mere Indian protectorate?

                            There were discrepancies between English and Bhutanese (Dzongkha) texts of the treaty, and the treaty did not specify which version was authoritative. New Delhi insisted Bhutan was obligated to be guided by India’s advice while Bhutan maintained it will merely seek and consider India’s advice. Decades of disagreement led to New Delhi’s acceptance of Thimphu’s version and interpretation in mid-1980s. A new interpretation of the article came up in 1974 following the Bhutanese foreign minister’s comment that India's advice and guidance on foreign policy matters was optional.
                            Out of date by the mid eighties

                            Agreement or disagreement over its interpretation is not important here; what is important is the true existing reality, for the treaty has never stood in way of Bhutan conducting its international affairs. The leaders of both countries believed that the continuity and sanctity of the 1949 treaty depends ultimately on the faith and trust which the signatories reposed in each other. Almost half a century on, the treaty is vibrant and dynamic as both countries co-operate for common interest. Bhutan has always stood by India, for "a strong India means a strong friend of Bhutan." The IndoBhutan friendship qualifies as a good example of bilateral relation in the region, not only because of the relations between the two countries and governments, but equally because of the individuals and organizations in both the countries, which have fostered closeness and interdependence on their own.

                            Asked whether it is time to renew the treaty of 1949 given the excellent Indo-Bhutan relations and the global changes in international relations, Bhutan’s foreign minister Jigmi Y Thinley had said the treaty has never been a constraint in conducting Bhutan’s foreign relations, establishing diplomatic relations, engaging in various international forums, and in pursuing the paths with respect to its aspiration.

                            In the words of former Indian Foreign Secretary J.N. Dixit, the letters of the treaty do not really prevail in terms of determining the relations between Bhutan and India, but rather it is more of spirit of goodwill and understanding and friendship that prevails in conducting their separate relations with other countries. The relation demonstrates how the tremendous goodwill and friendships between the two countries can transcend legal instruments, and the words printed on paper.
                            Security of Bhutan: Walking Between the Giants | Bhutan Studies | 2001

                            That paper came out before the text was changed in 2007
                            Last edited by Double Edge; 23 Aug 17,, 15:00.

                            Comment


                            • As the Doklam crisis continues to linger, Bhutan seems to be drifting away from India. In the capital, THE WEEK finds young Bhutanese openly proclaiming their love for China. Even monks and senior officials are not immune to China’s charm

                              utside the arrival gate at the Paro airport, the only international airport in Bhutan, I was greeted by a gush of wind on August 11. It was, however, not too cold, and thick clouds were kissing the surrounding hilltops. As the taxi reached the outskirts of Thimphu, the capital city 48km away, it started raining heavily. And the lush green hills glittered like a string of pearls.

                              Bhutan has been witnessing a glittering transition over the past decade. Once a conservative monarchy, it made a smooth switch to democracy in 2008. Three years ago, the country witnessed a dramatic break from the past as the young king, Jigmey Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, publicly kissed his wife, Jetsun Pema—twice on her cheeks and once on the lips. The king’s public display of affection hinted at a big change in the Himalayan kingdom.

                              Some of the changes are quite visible. I was under the impression that smoking was banned in Bhutan, and that there were no pubs or discotheques. But the taxi driver, Karma Dorjee, said there was no such ban. “This king is great. He has given us the freedom of choice,” said Karma. In Thimphu, I saw several pubs and discotheques. “Young girls dance here for money. These dance bars are only for adults,” Karma said. Although smoking is banned, tourists and others were puffing away in public. And, public displays of affection are no longer taboo.

                              What seems forbidden is any discussion of the Doklam standoff in the trijunction of India, Bhutan and China. “Two big nations are fighting and we are caught in the crossfire. We don’t know where will we go if war breaks out,” said tour operator Sonaem Dorji.

                              So, no open support for India. Is support for China growing?

                              Sonaem said some Bhutanese supported China out of fear. “They will finish us if we get closer to them. China is a nasty country and we don’t want it to be here in any form. India controls Bhutan, but it will never invade us,” he said. As I spent more time in Bhutan, I realised that people like Sonaem could be in the minority.

                              For an official reaction to the Doklam crisis, I rang up the prime minister’s office and requested an appointment. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay replied through his personal secretary: “For the next two months, I am totally occupied. I have a series of meetings and foreign trips.” The secretary directed me to the ministry of foreign affairs, with a word of caution. “If you raise the Doklam issue, you will not get any response. It is a calculated decision, which has come from the top. No one would speak a word,” he said.

                              Foreign Minister Lynopo Damcho Dorji’s secretary told me over the phone that the minister was in Nepal for a conference of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation). “Neither the minister nor the officials would make any further comment on the Doklam standoff,” he said.

                              Located in northwest Bhutan, Doklam is an inaccessible piece of strategic real estate. The crisis erupted after China started building a paved road, which can carry vehicles up to 40 tonnes, in the region. It would have linked Bhutan with Tibet and threatened the vulnerable Siliguri corridor.

                              Strategic experts in Bhutan say that, to resolve the crisis, India should respect the Anglo-Chinese treaty (1890), which has been accepted by successive Indian governments since independence. “And that clearly says India would have access to Nathu La while China could access Doklam,” said political commentator and blogger Wangcha Sangey.

                              “It is highly immoral on the part of India to abrogate the treaty. Bhutan will not accept it. We may not raise our voice out of fear and pressure from India. But Doklam is an issue between China and Bhutan. India has no business to interfere in it,” Sangey told me.

                              It was probably the harshest possible view coming from anyone in Bhutan even as its government has opted to stay silent. Although the king himself is said to be in touch with India, Bhutan has only issued just a brief statement, “We want both India and China to settle their disputes as we do not want to see any war.”

                              A senior official in Thimphu told me that the Bhutanese government had requested India to withdraw its forces from Doklam so that China, too, would pull back its troops. India reportedly reduced the number of its forces, but there was no complete withdrawal. Subsequently, Bhutan refused to make any anti-China statements in India’s support.

                              To know more about Bhutan’s refusal to stand with India, I decided to meet Information Minister D.N. Dhungyel. Since it was Saturday, an official holiday, I went to his residence. The security staff let me in after I told them that I was from India and had come to schedule an appointment with the minister.

                              Dhungyel was not at home. He came back half an hour later and was surprised to see me. He was incensed when I told him that I wanted to discuss India-Bhutan relations. “How dare you come to my residence and talk on this subject?” asked the minister.

                              When I told him that the prime minister’s office had advised me to meet him, he wanted to know whether I had sought permission from the Bhutanese embassy in Delhi. It was clear that Dhungyel was afraid of discussing Doklam. “Two big nations are fighting and we are caught in the middle. Shouldn’t we feel scared? Definitely we are. We have decided not to utter a word over the issue. You may want us to talk, but we will not do so, never,” he said.

                              Before I could finish the tea that his daughter had served, the minister asked me to leave. As I started walking to the gate, dodging two dogs that chased me, I could hear the minister scolding his guards for letting me in.

                              As I got into the taxi, a guard stopped it and asked me to step outside. “The minister says he will sack us. We will lose our jobs because of you,” he said. I refused to get off, and one of the guards snatched my bag and searched it. He went through everything, including my notepad. When I protested, he told me to shut up. “This is not India,” he said. The guards threatened the taxi driver, Saran Subba. “They might arrest me,” said Saran. “We are not supposed to get this close to the high security zone.”

                              My next stop was the residence of Lyonpo Jigme Zangpo, the speaker of the Bhutanese National Assembly. In terms of stature and protocol, Zangpo is next only to the king. He, too, was not so happy to see me. “I am not here to answer your questions. How could you barge in here like this?” he asked. He said there was no damage to the India-Bhutan friendship. “But everybody would have to understand that national security is of utmost interest to us.”

                              Zangpo, however, revealed that Bhutan was talking to China about launching formal diplomatic relations. “I cannot tell you more,” he said. “Please understand that we maintain silence because of a well thought out decision taken at the top.” He said it was high time India embraced China.

                              Bhutanese government sources confirmed that the country, which once shared a special and exclusive relationship with India, was widening its diplomatic outreach. It now has diplomatic ties with 53 countries and is in the process of establishing ties with more.

                              The previous government under the DPT (Druk Phuensum Tshhogpa) party had established some links with the Chinese government. DPT leaders had met Chinese foreign ministry officials in Japan, South Korea and certain European countries. President of the DPT, Pema Gayamtsho, who is also the leader of the opposition, refused to comment. “As the government has decided not to make any remarks on the issue, I am refraining from making a statement,” he told me. Tshewang Rinzin, spokesperson for the DPT, said the Bhutanese government trusted India. “However, there are many people who raise doubts about ties with India, especially on social media platforms.”

                              Bhutan’s formal ties with India started in 1865 with the Treaty of Sinchula. Under the terms of the treaty, Bhutan ceded its territories in the Dooars region [which fall in present day Assam and West Bengal] to British India for an annual compensation of Rs 50,000. The treaty was amended in 1910 and it was in force till India became independent. A new treaty with similar terms was signed between Bhutan and India in 1949.

                              Political commentator Sangey said the treaty kept Bhutan completely isolated. “India guided our foreign policy for more than six decades. During all these years, Bhutan had diplomatic relations with only five or six countries. On top of it, India had included the word ‘protectorate’ in its policy towards Bhutan, something which the Bhutanese felt was disgraceful,” he said.

                              The situation changed only in 2007 after India, under prime minister Manmohan Singh, signed a new treaty with Bhutan. “As Bhutan now has the power to ascertain its friends, the people are understandably happy,” said Sangey. It is especially true for the younger generation.

                              At the clock tower near the Thimphu market, I met Santosh Rana, a young man with Nepali roots. Santosh, who did his engineering degree in Chennai, is looking for a job. He is planning to go to Japan as job opportunities are very few in Bhutan. He feels India is also facing a job market slump.

                              Santosh, 24, said it was important for Bhutan to have friendly ties with China. “Today, China is one of the major economies in the world. Even the US is afraid of it. Bhutan must have relations with China and it would gain a lot. Young people like us would benefit greatly out of that,” he said.

                              His classmate Thrinluy Namgyel, agreed with Santosh. “For years, we have been living in isolation. It is time for a change. We can have great relations with India even as we have relations with China,” said Thrinluy. Another friend, Sonam Wangchuk, who is also an engineering graduate from India, said China had always troubled Bhutan in the past. “If we establish close relations with China, it will make us another Tibet,” he said. Thrinluy, however, said China had changed a lot and an invasion was unlikely.

                              While young men are not afraid to voice their opinion, the academics are guarded, just like the administrators. “We don’t know about the repercussions if we open our mouths. If we say relations with China are the need of the hour, we cannot forget that we get maximum grants from India. Our trade is also mostly with India,” said a professor of international relations at the Royal Thimphu College.

                              Bhutanese government sources confirmed that China was becoming a key player in the country. The first major Chinese investment has come in the religious sector. Atop a hill in Thimphu, which is now known as Buddha Point, is a gold-plated bronze statue of the Buddha. The 169ft statue was installed to commemorate the 60th birthday of Jigme Singhey Wangchuk, the former king. The project, which cost nearly $100 million, was financed by Aerosun Corporation, a major equipment manufacturing company based in Nanjing, China.

                              Jigmey Thinley, a 27-year-old Buddhist monk, said so long as the Chinese did not interfere with their religious practices, the monks did not have a problem with them. He said the Bhutanese were open to more cooperation with monks from Tibet. Moreover, they did not accept the Dalai Lama as their religious leader as he had refused to listen to them. “He has never visited Bhutan. The Bhutanese probably might not accept his anti-China outbursts,” said Thinley. “Once when I was in Bodhgaya, I tried to get the Dalai Lama’s blessings. But he had a heavy security cover and I was denied entry thrice.” Thinley said he would never again try to meet the Dalai Lama.

                              Tapas Adhikary, an Indian telecom employee, has been visiting Bhutan twice every month for the past 15 years. He said the local people had become quite reserved towards Indians. “They no longer show any warmth, especially if you are not a tourist. And, the immigration officials do not even let us enter that frequently. Now they put a stamp on our passports as well,” said Adhikary, who is from Kolkata.

                              Ditching India, however, could prove to be a costly proposition for Bhutan. The Narendra Modi government has taken note of Thimphu’s shifting allegiance. Not a single minister or senior official visited Bhutan for talks after the Doklam crisis erupted. The only high-level contact happened on August 11 in Kathmandu where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke with Bhutanese Foreign Minister Damcho Dorji on the sidelines of the BIMSTEC summit.

                              Moreover, India is the most important donor for Bhutan’s development projects. For its 11th five-year plan, India has contributed Rs 4,500 crore. As ties deteriorate, India has suddenly slashed aid for hydroelectric projects in Bhutan from Rs 969 crore to Rs 160 crore.

                              On the trade front, the landlocked kingdom is completely dependent on India. Nearly 80 per cent of Bhutan’s imports come from India, and more than 90 per cent of its exports go to India. And, with India adopting the goods and services tax (GST), exports to India have become even costlier. “Our products will have to be competitive. But then we will also have to diversify. We need to look at other markets which have favourable tax regimes,” said Phub Tshering, secretary general of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

                              Will that market be China? “Sorry, no comments,” he said.

                              Sonam Tenzing, director of Bhutan’s trade department, too, refused to confirm or rule out launching trade ties with China. “I don’t have the authority to speak on it. But it is being looked after at the highest level,” he said.

                              Trade with China is already common in north Bhutan, which borders Tibet. “People there cannot come to Thimphu or other towns as they have to seek permission. For us to go there, we have to take permission at the Indian Army base in Haa. So, they trade with Tibet, unofficially,” said a Bhutanese official.

                              Caught between two big powers, Bhutan is in a dilemma. But it may no longer be willing to take orders from India. Sangey said India was looking for a clear statement from Bhutan deploring China’s repeated threats of war on account of the Doklam crisis. “But India failed to convince Bhutan,” he said. “It is a big defeat for the Indian government. Bhutan has not fallen into the trap laid out by India.”

                              http://www.theweek.in/theweek/cover/...s-liaison.html

                              I would say Bhutan would like to see india withdraw its forces from the intruded areas.
                              Last edited by Funtastic; 22 Aug 17,, 23:49.

                              Comment


                              • Caught between two big powers, Bhutan is in a dilemma. But it may no longer be willing to take orders from India. Sangey said India was looking for a clear statement from Bhutan deploring China’s repeated threats of war on account of the Doklam crisis. “But India failed to convince Bhutan,” he said. “It is a big defeat for the Indian government. Bhutan has not fallen into the trap laid out by India.”
                                Isn't the Bhutanese MEA statement on Jun 29 clear enough ? read it

                                On top of that Bhutan recently refuted the Chinese ministers assertion that Doklam was already settled.

                                Not necessary for Bhutanese to deplore anything, their actions have shown their position. Their silence means they have a good control and this has given room for India to manouver. The alliance is in pretty good shape. China otoh has painted itself into a corner and is the loser desperately in search for a face saver here. It will go quiet, the two will withdraw and that will be the end of it.

                                Am increasingly reaching the conclusion that there will be no war as India and China are too big for it. So all we get is rhetoric and shadow boxing

                                By proxy is a possibility but not direct. The border dispute will continue with occasional flare ups until the Chinese come to their senses.
                                Last edited by Double Edge; 23 Aug 17,, 12:06.

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