Bhutan: Dangerous liaison


AndrewS

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LOL I didn't know that Bhutan doesn't even have official relations with China because of Indian pressure. How pathetic! India knows it can provide only a small fraction of what China can give so its only chance is to not let the competition happen. Oh, China's ready; everything you said is China's specialty. China's got more economic muscle in its pinky than India has in its thigh. Bhutan could get a GREAT deal here if they're not absurdly stupid.
Yes.

But it's not really about how much money India or China can provide.
Bhutan probably costs less than $1Billion per year, which is peanuts to China or India.

It's the fact that Bhutan needs friendly relations with China and a border settlement asap.

Bhutan knows that in the long-run, it will be the loser in any China-India competition, so it wants to escape India's embrace and become neutral.
 

sanblvd

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India is like a stalking jealous boyfriend..... WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ME ANYMORE??? WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO OTHER PEOPLE??? I AM THE ONLY ONE YOU EVER NEED IN YOUR LIFE!!!!!

DID YOU JUST CHIT CHAT WITH ANOTHER GUY? NO!!! YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DO THAT, YOU ARE ONLY ALLOW TO TALK TO ME!!!

BREAK UP? WHAT BREAK UP? WE ARE TOGETHER FOREVER, IF I CAN'T HAVE YOU, THEN NO ONE ELSE WILL.
 

Tyloe

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So its confirmed that Bhutan won't give an official stance on the Indian troops; whether they requested foreign troops or not. They do have a balancing act, but on the other hand, without a trilateral conversation this perfect storm is left to grow.
 

kurutoga

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So its confirmed that Bhutan won't give an official stance on the Indian troops; whether they requested foreign troops or not. They do have a balancing act, but on the other hand, without a trilateral conversation this perfect storm is left to grow.
If this requires a trilateral agreement, why can't Chinese start to occupy any land that India has de facto control? If actual control means anything to India, they need to withdraw unconditionally. Expand this to SCS it means nobody needs to respect the actual control status of today.

I don't think China can back down and they should not. Look at the reasons given by India, they do not appear logical. They invade China because there is a potential threat to chicken neck? they sound like Vietnam before invading Cambodia.

The choice on China's side is if it is worth it to enter into a war, not if they will win or not. I think that is tough choice. But given India's persistence in this sort of harassment, maybe it is an opportunity to go to war this time. Either way it will take time. War preparation is tedious.
 
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Tyloe

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If this requires a trilateral agreement, why can't Chinese start to occupy any land that India has de facto control? If actual control means anything to India, they need to withdraw unconditionally. Expand this to SCS it means nobody needs to respect the actual control status of today.

I don't think China can back down and they should not. Look at the reasons given by India, they do not appear logical. They invade China because there is a potential threat to chicken neck? they sound like Vietnam before invading Cambodia.

The choice on China's side is if it is worth it to enter into a war, not if they will win or not. I think that is touch choice. But given India's persistence in this sort of harassment, maybe it is an opportunity to go to war this time.
I think you have mistaken my point, which is Bhutan not talking will only make things worse. The state of this standoff also rests on them. Whether they choose to come out and clearly state if a request for intervention exists or not, or just wait it out; will decide where this is all heading.

Would they rather risk pissing one side off diplomatically but opens the chance for tensions to die down, or let escalations grow is up to them. At this point both its neighbours are not letting up and using ambiguity to their advantage and interpretations.
 
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AndrewS

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So its confirmed that Bhutan won't give an official stance on the Indian troops; whether they requested foreign troops or not. They do have a balancing act, but on the other hand, without a trilateral conversation this perfect storm is left to grow.
China's view is that this is a bi-lateral conversation between China and Bhutan, and that India should not be involved.

I think the Chinese plan is to keep escalating the situation, until Bhutan sees that it is in its interest to move out of India's orbit. Bhutan is already moving in that direction. A New York Times article from last week is below

Squeezed by an India-China Standoff, Bhutan Holds Its Breath
By STEVEN LEE MYERSAUG. 15, 2017
New York Times

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HAA, Bhutan — India’s main garrison in the Kingdom of Bhutan sits only 13 miles from a disputed border with China. There is a training academy, a military hospital, a golf course — all testament to India’s enduring role defending this tiny Himalayan nation.

Earlier this summer, China began extending an unpaved road in the disputed territory, and India sent troops and equipment to block the work. The incursion has resulted in a tense standoff that has lasted more than 50 days, with Indian soldiers facing Chinese troops who have dug in just a few hundred yards away.

At a time when North Korea and the United States are trading threats of war, China and India — the world’s two most populous nations — have engaged in increasingly bellicose exchanges over this remote border dispute, evoking memories of their bloody conflict in 1962 as the world’s attention was focused on the Cuban missile crisis.

There are fears that ambition and nationalism could lead them to war again, but now with more firepower at their disposal.

Caught between these two nuclear rivals seeking regional dominance is Bhutan, a mountain nation of 800,000 with a mystical reputation and a former king who popularized the concept of “gross national happiness” as a measure of a country’s well-being.

India says it is acting on Bhutan’s behalf in the standoff. But its intervention has not resulted in much gratitude here. On the contrary, many in Bhutan feel that India’s protective embrace has become suffocating.

“In the case of war between India and China, we would be the meat in the sandwich,” said Pema Gyamtsho, a leader of the opposition party in Bhutan’s National Assembly. “It shouldn’t have to be a choice,” he added, referring to his nation’s ties with India and China, “but it is at the moment.”

For decades, Bhutan has chosen India. More than a half century ago, Bhutan watched warily as China’s Communists took power and eventually occupied neighboring Tibet, with which it has close ethnic, cultural and religious ties. India offered to defend the kingdom, and Bhutan accepted.

But the latest standoff has inflamed festering resentments over India’s influence in the country. In particular, many suspect that India has sought to block Bhutan’s efforts to establish diplomatic relations and expand trade with Beijing, fearing that a rapprochement could remove the strategic buffer that Bhutan provides.

“Bhutan has every right to its sovereignty; that’s the crux of the thing,” said Wangcha Sangey, a former publisher and head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of India’s interference. “We have the right to live the way we want to live and to have the foreign relations we want to have.”

On the surface, the dispute turns on 34 square miles of land claimed by both Bhutan and China. India has accused China of extending the road to expand its control of the territory, with some comparing the move to Beijing’s efforts to cement its claims in the South China Sea by
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The disputed area is strategically significant because it slopes into a narrow Indian valley that connects central India to its landlocked northeastern states. India calls it the Chicken’s Neck and has long feared that China could seize it in a war, splitting its territory.

But when India ordered its troops across the border on June 16, it seemed to do so without a request from Bhutan. While Bhutan has condemned the Chinese road work, it has studiously avoided saying whether it asked India to intervene. The Indian government has also avoided the question.

China has been talking tough, with near-daily warnings against India. Commodore Liu Tang, a deputy commander of the South China Sea Fleet, warned last week in The People’s Liberation Army Daily that China’s restraint thus far was “not without a bottom line.” The headline declared, “China’s territory is large, but not an inch of land is redundant.”

India has put more troops on alert in recent days, suggesting that it, too, is not prepared to back down.

In Haa, a small village an arduous day’s hike from where the troops are squaring off, the dispute is like distant thunder, a warning of storms that may come but are not yet anything to worry about.

The standoff does not, so far, involve Bhutanese forces, and state television and even the independent news media have followed the government’s lead and said virtually nothing about the conflict.

One resident of Haa said that a relative had happened on Chinese soldiers digging trenches while he herded his yak along the border. But the authorities have since closed the foot trails to the disputed area.

That has shut down an informal shuttle trade with Tibetan towns on the Chinese side of the border. For years traders have traveled back and forth on foot or horseback, selling cordyceps — known as Himalayan Viagra — and other medicinal herbs from Bhutan. They return with electronic goods, carpets, silks and clothing.

In a country where per capita economic output — not the happiness index — reached a high of $2,751 last year, the trade has become a livelihood along the border.

Nima Dorji, a shopkeeper in Haa, said he had not received any shipments since the border routes were closed, and worried that he might have to look elsewhere to restock. “We do not talk much about it,” he said. “It is very sensitive.”

Bhutanese officials have maintained a pointed silence, preferring ambiguity to the risk of offending either India or China. The Foreign Ministry did not respond to requests for comment; nor did the prime minister, Tshering Tobgay. The foreign minister, Damcho Dorji, said on Friday that he hoped the situation would be resolved “peacefully and amicably.”
 

AndrewS

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...continued

Many interviewed in Bhutan expressed more concern about India’s actions than China’s. Some note that one effect of India’s move — intended or not — has been to undermine border negotiations with China that could have cleared the way for closer economic ties.

There are four border areas in dispute: two in the north and two in the west, including the place where the standoff has unfolded. In 1998, China proposed ceding the northern areas to Bhutan in exchange for the western ones. And while Bhutan agreed in principle, a final agreement has not been reached.

After the latest round of talks in Beijing last year, the two sides seemed to be nearing a consensus, though prospects for a new round now seem uncertain.

Since signing a friendship treaty with India in 1949, Bhutan has relied almost exclusively on India for its defense. To this day India trains and pays the salaries of the Royal Bhutan Army, while its engineering corps builds and maintains Bhutan’s hairpin mountain roads. The exact number is not public, but India usually keeps 300 to 400 troops in Bhutan.

The relationship has evolved along with the country itself, and as fears that Bhutan could be subsumed by China have faded.

In 2006, Bhutan’s revered fourth king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, abdicated after overseeing a democratic transition that culminated in elections for a national assembly in 2008 and 2013. The advent of parliamentary politics has generated increased debate about further opening a country that did not allow television until 1999.

And after decades of tilting almost exclusively south, Bhutan has begun looking north to China.

In 2012, the prime minister at the time met with his Chinese counterpart at a Group of 20 summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro. Not long afterward, India cut subsidies to Bhutan for cooking oil and kerosene. The move was widely seen as retaliation, and the ruling party in Bhutan lost the next election.

Part of the lure of better relations with China is money. In addition to the shuttle trade, there is tourism, one of Bhutan’s biggest industries. Indians do not need visas to travel to Bhutan, but Chinese must pay $250 a day in advance for vacation packages. Still, for the first time last year, more visitors came from China than from any other country besides India.

Chinese fascination with Bhutan bloomed after one of Hong Kong’s biggest movie stars, Tony Leung,
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the actress Carina Lau here in 2008. The
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three years later of the current king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, also stoked interest after footage of it went viral in China.

Pema Tashi, who manages Happiness Kingdom Travel and advertises “a sojourn in paradise,” caters to Chinese clients with eight guides who speak Mandarin. He complained that there were no direct flights between Bhutan and China, and expressed suspicion that India had worked to prevent a normalization of relations that would open up such routes.

“We try to protect the interest of our big brother,” he said, referring to India, “but they feel that if we get closer to the north, we might not be as dependent on them.”
 

AndrewS

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China woos Bhutan with $10 billion in standoff with India

Beijing seen driving wedge in New Delhi-Thimphu alliance
YUJI KURONUMA, Nikkei staff writer

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NEW DELHI -- Locked in a two-month border standoff with India and tiny Bhutan in the Himalayas, China is offering its little neighbor $10 billion in economic assistance to soften its stance.

Sources say that since the offer, Bhutan has toned down its allegations that China is violating its territorial claims.

The development complicates Bhutan's relations with India, which blocked Chinese troops after Bhutan, -- a long-time security ally of India's -- notified New Delhi that the troops were attempting to construct a road in a part of the Doklam Plateau claimed by both China and Bhutan.

India and China have accused each other of violating the border, with troops from both countries in a face-off since June. Winning over Bhutan would lend more credence to their claims, and it appears Beijing's overture is having the desired effect. Speaking to Indian reporters earlier this month, a Chinese diplomat said that Bhutan clearly acknowledged to Beijing that the area where Indian troops entered is not part of Bhutan.

If the claim is correct, it would signal a weakening of ties between India and Bhutan.

Although a Bhutanese government official immediately issued a denial to Indian media, New Delhi remains unconvinced. A government source told the Nikkei early this month that China's $10 billion package -- which includes a grant, low-interest loans and direct investment -- is tempting Bhutan.

When External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met with her Bhutanese counterpart, Damcho Dorji, on Aug. 11 on the sidelines of a regional meeting, she told Dorji not to be betrayed by China, asking further that Bhutan retain its alliance with India. Dorji, however, only said that he hoped the standoff would be resolved peacefully and amicably, refraining from any comment that would provoke China.

In June, Bhutan's foreign ministry blasted China, saying that the construction work violates an agreement between the two countries.

The Chinese government-backed tabloid Global Times later ran an editorial referencing Dorji's comment and stating that Bhutan clearly wants to maintain neutral in its criticism of India.

China is wooing Bhutan in order to validate its presence in Doklam. India sent troops only after Bhutan claimed that China had started construction work in Bhutanese territory. Beijing hopes Bhutan will relinquish its claim to the disputed area, thereby obviating the need for Indian troops, which would then be violating Chinese territory.

According to Indian government sources, China and India informally agreed to simultaneously reduce troop deployments in phases, aiming for a complete withdrawal between September and October, or at least by year-end.

Both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping need to save face, hence the simultaneous draw down. But tensions remain, with Chinese and Indian soldiers throwing stones at each other in Kashmir.

According to an Indian government source, there are about 320 Indian and 500 Chinese troops in the area, with the numbers declining. But behind them stand 12,000 Indian soldiers and a 16,000-strong Chinese contingent, raising concerns that if shooting starts, it could quickly grow into a major conflict.
 
China woos Bhutan with $10 billion in standoff with India

...
LOL the money would be needed according to what I read about a month ago (I lost the link, it happened around the time when the original Doklam Thread has gotten closed) which was ... OK the author was a Bhutanese living in India, hope he wasn't some kind of a Crook, but he didn't side with either India or China, he was positive about the current Bhutanese Government, but he pointed to an urgent issue of Bhutan which is money: the plan has been to sell electricity off hydropower plants to India, and operate some industrial zone (I guess it's tiny, but the income should be very important); what's happened, though, was India got enough its own electricity, and that industrial zone was hit by a crisis AND, in the meantime, the Bhutanese spending grew, leading to deficits ... just what I recall from the article I don't have anymore
 

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