Skip to comments.China inching closer to India through Bhutan
Posted on 08/01/2005 10:32:16 AM PDT by CarrotAndStick
NEW DELHI: India is livid with anger over the Sino-Bhutan border talks that took place during the second week of July. It has caused a flutter in South Block.
Hackles in the Indian military have been raised. That is why it dispatched its Director General of Military Operations, Lt Gen Madan Gopal, to Bhutan to meet the King.
And the King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, himself will arrive next Monday at New Delhi to explain what transpired between the two countries.
He will have to do some hard explaining when he meets the National Security Advisor, M K Narayanan who is also India's special representative in the Sino-Indian boundary talks and other key officials.
The latest Sino-Bhutanese talks caught India more by stealth than surprise.
Despite the absence of a diplomatic relationship, both Bhutan and China have conducted more than 17 rounds of discussions over the boundary issues that involve the eastern, middle and western sector.
Post Wen Jiabo's visit to India early this year, a meeting of this kind is sure to provoke even the doves.
"The Chinese want the Bhutanese to compromise on the Chumbi sector so they can move in", says Dr Srikanth Kondapalli, a noted China expert and a Research Fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).
He adds, "That the Chinese did not cross the Kinzamane in the eastern sector in 1962 though it lay slightly west off Tawang, and their current claims to Chumbi are reflective of their long-term strategy."
The Chinese have been able to gain a strategic wiggle room by reducing the disputed area with Bhutan over the years.
What started off with 1000 square kilometres has been reduced to 269 till April 2004 of Sinchu Lumpa, Shakhpoe and the Chumbi valley.
"The current bargain is for the Chumbi valley which means Indians will have a problem militarily. It appears that the Chinese will occupy large areas in the Chumbi valley", says Dr Kondapalli.
He adds, "Since this is very much linked to the border dispute, India should be concerned. The Chinese might have offered Bhutan a lucrative package to claim the Chumbi valley. That means it could thwart India's military posturing in this region.
It is not as if Bhutan and China have been discussing in a clandestine manner.
In 2004, the Bhutanese National Assembly discussed the issue of sector swapping.
What Bhutan forgot was to make India privy to these discussions for all Bhutan's border agreements and issues to India's. It is here, going by what has happened that experts feel that Bhutan might have hoodwinked India.
While recent peace initiatives have bolstered the Sino-Indian bilateral relationships on the one side, nibbling activities on the other have questioned the intent of the initiatives though not without a reason.
Which has a historical antecedent; tracing from the Chinese occupation of all the five Himalayan kingdoms of Tibet, Ladakh, Sikkim, Bhutan and Nepal though Gen Zhao Erfeng couldn't retain them in the face of 1911 revolution till the 1962 war.
Immediately after the Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959, Bhutan sealed all its borders which meant no interaction between China and Bhutan.
Strategic as it may seem now, during the 1962 war, China neither sent forces to Bhutan nor occupied them but of late China is being criticized for sending Tibetan herdsmen and constructing sheds in high altitude areas in Bhutan.
China in the past has been accused for its nibbling activities which was part of the first talks between China and Bhutan in 1984, three years after the first Sino-Indian talks on border issues.
The Chinese embassy in India has been playing a crucial role in the talks that have happened in Thimpu.
"Going by what has transpired it looks like Bhutan will give away some land in the Chumbi valley. Because about 500 kms down, you are in what is called the Chicken's Neck or the Siliguri corridor, a narrow stretch of land that connects the northeastern states to the rest of India. "Importantly, and looming large over the Chicken's Neck is the Chumbi valley which is shouldered on the one side by the Paunhuri and the other by Chomulhari peaks that converge at the Sinchu La on the junction of China, Bhutan and India.
"This is strategic and for the Indian military it will be a cause for concern and if Bhutan concedes, which is likely, this will prove detrimental", says Dr Kondapalli.
The Indian military is aware. What the army is not aware is the ground reality, which should come from the Intelligence.
33 Core of the Indian Army is located in Sukhna to take care of West Bengal and Sikkim and its elite 3 and 4 Core in Dimapur and Tezpur respectively which should be able to repulse a pincer attack in the Chumbi valley.
More than nibbling, the Chinese are trying to establish communication and transmission links within Bhutan.
"There have been reports of increasing construction of transmission lines in Bhutan by China," say Dr Kondapalli.
He adds, "Some of these electric companies have been traced to Wuhan on the Yangtze River downstream the three gorges which is known for its defence industries including submarine building.
"Bhutan's border agreement is linked to India's border agreement and now China is egging on some position in Bhutan for an anti-Indian stance in lieu of giving some land in the eastern sector. "
There is also the fear that China might provide covert support to the insurgents in the northeast.
Intelligence agencies and China watchers say that the Chinese still transfer small arms through ISI though there has been no manifest link that has been traced the connections to organizations like ULFA.
A senior military intelligence official says, "Till recently we have seized arms that are of Chinese make." Earlier, because of the imperatives of normalization between India and China, smuggling of arms is being passed off as commercial transaction from China.
The Chumbi story has a Tibetan twist. An official at the Department of Information and International Relations, Central Tibet Administration, Mcloedganj says, "It is anyway not the Chinese land that they are planning to give away to Bhutan and prior to 1951 it was part of the Bhutan-Tibet border."
A senior official in the Military Intelligence says, "We have a serious problem in hand and unless and until it is addressed at the policy level, it will be very difficult for India to contain China's nibbling activity."
India's anger seems to be justified provided King Jigme Singye Wangchuck has a different story to tell when he arrives next Monday.
The pictures above are those from India's Republic Day, 2005, where the Bhutanese king was the chief guest. The picture of those Indians and Bhutanese on a picnic is just a sidekick.
What does that mean?
It's interesting to see Bhutan on a 3D relief map of Asia. It's nearly vertical as it covers the foot hills to the higest peaks of the Himalayas.
In your 2nd to last photo of the military parade: I wonder what the fencing/cross fencing is for? Some paddocks have only a handful of people while other's are filled.
Maybe a caste separation?
Caste separation?!! This is an event of the Government of India. If it had done anything to separate castes like that, they would have a tough time with India's Supreme Court. People would be in uproar. All caste discrimination in India involves private matters, between and amongst citizens, not amongst the Government and the people(except in very far-flung places where the law doesn't hold much of a grip).
Those are probably partitioned reservations for Army, AF and Navy personnel and their families. Public viewing areas are much larger, and follow the length of the road near the beginning.
I thought the photo was Bhutan. And was quiet surprised to see such a military there.
Ya Right if it is India it has to be caste discrimination
I am not objecting to it but neither should you when next time I call America a land where every kid shoots their pals head out just for fun, where girls reach their teens in hospital because they are aborting their, where blacks can not even think about enjoying civil liberty and where no women has ever become president and probably will never become either.
Forgive my ingnorance, but if the Caste system is stereotyping Indians, what is the red dot on the forehead all about?
China today = Germany circa 1930's. The storm clouds are brewing folks.
half religious, now fashion, google "tilak".
It's a cultural thing, repeated almost equally by Hindu and Christian women in India. Stupid as it may seem (and is), the dot is symbolic of a married woman, if it is a red one, like a wedding ring (even that is worn by Hindu couples), and otherwise( in women and men) it is a beauty accessory and a religious mark of blessing respectively( like ash on the forehead on Ash Wednesday, if you may).
I'm afraid you're right. This time the oceans won't provide much protection for the US.
My question: which course will India be likely to steer with regard to an expansionist China? Resistance, neutrality or cooperation?
I suspect at some point in the past it was purely religious; the dot on the forehead has deep spiritual symbolism in the context of yoga from what I am aware of.
"Forgive my ingnorance, but if the Caste system is stereotyping Indians, what is the red dot on the forehead all about?"
The red dot is for married women I believe. Heh! I always thought it would be good if single women would wear a green tilak. This would provide an easy to see and fairly universal signal for potential suitors.
You can't always believe a yoga instructor. Remember he/she is out there to make money. Traditional yoga was always taught in Ashrams- charitable hermitages in India where you are not expected to pay anything, be it for food, medicine, accomodation, religion or yoga.
A Sanskrit term for retreat or center of spiritual study. A Spartan daily discipline is usually followed, which may include yoga, a vegetarian diet, meditation, etc.
A center (usually Hindu), for religious study and meditation.
Hegemonic Chinese Communist Bump.
Or "bindi(s)" to get the fashion end of things.
At some ancient point, it was representative of the "Third Eye" and all that. A symbol of cultural and religious fealty.
why does this story remind me of the REM video "Shining Happy People" ???
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