Have seen and read reports of the Chinese allegedly building a village 2 km inside Bhutan in Doklam area.

However, as per reliable sources in Bhutan there is no ‘Chinese village’ constructed inside Bhutan.
Bhutan has troops on the ground in the said border areas & they would have spotted and reported such matters to Thimphu.

No such report.

In the past even for minor encroachments like a road etc Bhutan takes note & issues a protest or demarche to the Chinese Embassy in Delhi.
As for ‘Google lines’ on the map Bhutan & China do not negotiate based on ‘Google Map’ but claim lines based on detailed cartographic maps &ground features.

Each side has its own maximalist claim lines.

Importantly these actual maps & claim lines are not available to Google.
In addition to the maximalist claim lines by both sides there are various other compromise lines in between that both sides had proposed & tried unsuccessfully to negotiate over many years.

But did not work so far as Bhutan & China are unable to agree on where trijunction lies.
Impt to note that both Bhutan & China recognize the 269 sq km in West & 495 sq km in North-Central Bhutan
as disputed & so while there are maximalist claim lines from both sides there is no mutually accepted international border there yet.

In other words no settled boundary.
According to @Geeta_Mohan of @IndiaToday our seasoned Ambassador to New Delhi Major General Vetsop Namgyel has given the official line saying there is no Chinese village inside Bhutan.

For the Google & satellite map experts please do note that Bhutan is well aware of Chinese road encroachments and has issued numerous diplomatic demarches over the years including in 2017 during the standoff.

We have also discussed it openly in past National Assembly sessions.
This article of mine in 2017 in @IndianExpress just after the standoff ended will provide some perspective and background…

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More from @TenzingLamsang

1 Jul

There are only 2 disputed areas raised in 24 boundary talks since 1984 agreed to by both sides with signed minutes (269 sq km in West & 495 sq km in North-Central Bhutan)

The Chinese never brought this up in the boundary talks.

So there is no dispute in Eastern Bhutan.
The Chinese side is led by a Vice Foreign Minister & boundary talks are held alternately in both countries.

This Eastern sector is very much Bhutanese with a large Bhutanese population and traditional Dzongs ( Medieval Fortresses) & two Bhutanese districts since time immemorial.
If such claims are made then it must be by some clueless junior official unaware of the boundary talks.

Such claims undermine the boundary talks and wild claims on either side by officials will only exacerbate issues as Bhutan too can lay claims far north.
Read 6 tweets
25 Jun

Bhutan has not stopped flow of any ‘irrigation water’ to India.

Instead every year Bhutan allows Assamese farmers to come across &divert section of a river in Bhutan into channels that irrigate few farms in Assam.

This year border sealed to ALL foreigners due to COVID-19.

Even Bhutanese coming into Bhutan since March have to undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine & tests before being released into the population.

This is how we have prevented community transmission so far.

Please don’t politicize this or draw non-existential inferences.
Situation is not as heartless as it is being made out to be as local govt on Bhutan side there had earlier agreed to maintain those water channels.

However, in monsoon sudden rainfall and floods also damage Bhutanese irrigation systems including the drinking water in Thimphu.
Read 4 tweets
16 Jun

Nepal's Parliament including 3 disputed areas in a new map & other recent developments have marked a low point in relations between the two countries.

It takes two hands to clap and both the Nepalese and Indian sides have to be blamed for letting relations deteriorate.
First off, in my opinion, the current border row has nothing to do with any hidden Chinese hand in Nepal pushing this.

On the contrary the Indian side are using an agreement with China in May 2015 on trade through Lipu Lekh to buttress its position.
Border dispute in a sense shows the evolution of Indo-Nepal ties.

Nepalese Monarchy though aware of the dispute never brought it to a boil to ensure smooth ties.

This changed as political parties came in, politicisation of foreign policy took place & Nepal asserted itself.
Read 16 tweets
12 Jun

From reading many articles on the LAC standoff between India & China the name of the game seems to be the strategic Galwan valley & its high vantage points that allows PLA to overlook & potentially cut off India’s new DSDBO road heading to the strategic Daulat Beg Oldie.
From all indications it looks like the PLA possibly responding to the road and a feeder road to it surprised the Indian side with large scale movement into areas claimed and patrolled by both sides.
Difference this time is structures built and massive mobilization at the back.
News reports of massive PLA mobilization and movement along the entire LAC with multiple formation back up indicate PLA preparing to prevent a tit for tat ingress by the Indian side and determination to hold onto strategic gains/movement, particularly in Galwan.
Read 20 tweets
31 May

In the current LAC standoff between India & China all kinds of theories have been given in the Indian press from a COVID-19 angle to a desire in Beijing to teach India a lesson for getting too close to the west.

However, a fundamental Chinese motivation has been ignored.
China’s underlying claims are based on historical extent of the Tibetan Empire of 7th to 9th A.D & subsequent old Tibet from 10th century on.

Ironically a Tibetan empire in constant conflict with its arch-enemy in Imperial China & China’s greatest threat on its western flank.
Imperial Tibet at one point even invaded & briefly occupied the Tang Dynasty capital of Changan & installed a puppet Chinese Emperor in 763 AD.

Both countries also had regional allies with China frequently allying with the Arab Caliphate on Tibet’s Western flank to pressure it.
Read 24 tweets
11 May
#Bhutan #COVIDー19 thread

When it comes international best practices in handling COVID-19 countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore etc are cited as examples to follow.

However, a little known success story so far is Bhutan, a tiny himalayan state with limited resources.
We got our first confirmed & imported case in form of a 76-yr-old male US tourist with underlying co-morbidity conditions on 6th March 2020.

With the system ready from before immediately aggressive contact tracing was done along with testing and quarantining of all 1st contacts
Even though it was just one case, from 6th March on all play schools, schools and colleges in Bhutan were shut down and social distancing was instituted.

Also, tourism and movement of labour into Bhutan was halted.

There was also non-stop health advocacy on COVID-19 prevention.
Read 20 tweets

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