Is Bhutan under pressure from China?

Baksa: Since March-end India has been pin-pointing its entire focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Beginning with the first lockdown it has been a tough and arduous journey for the nation. The journey has not ended. The end may be far off in the distant future. Rather, the Covid-19 landscape faced by the nation presently is a lot more challenging and voluminous that what it was in March-end.

Meanwhile, as India confronts the pandemic with reinforced resolution and determination and while the much-needed economic activities are beginning to take shape on a low key, it appears that powers hostile to the healthy growth and development of India are engaged in creating disturbing situations in this country.

On this count, China appears to fully concentrating in attempts to divert India’s attention from important agendas like fight against Covid-19 and economic growth and regeneration. Firstly, since a few weeks, more particularly since about the middle of May, 2020, China has succeeded in diverting India’s attention to Eastern Ladakh. It was just on the intervening night of June 15-16 the in a fierce clash, Chinese troops killed 20 Indian Army troopers while injuring many others on the Indian side of the LAC in the Galwan Valley. The clash took place as the Chinese Army was making attempts to intrude into the area. The incident not only diverted the attention of the Government of India but also took the entire nation by shock. The people of this country solidly stood behind our government and our Army while protesting and condemning the Chinese misadventure in Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh. As if that was not enough, just a bout a week back the Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed sovereignty over the entire Galwan Valley.

It is indeed strange that since sometime nations sandwiched between India and China are beginning to adopt hostile attitude towards India. In the first instance, it was Nepal that got involved in a border row with India. The Nepal Parliament has already approved a map with certain areas of India included on the Nepal side.

In the latest instance, the neighbouring Kingdom of Bhutan has stopped the release of water from a water channel, locally called ‘dong’. Significantly, over 6000 farmers in 25 villages in Baksa district have been hard-hit by Bhutan’s action. Since 1953, the water channel has been serving as a lifeline for a huge area of paddy fields in Baksa district. Meanwhile, the farmers are staging a massive protest over the uncalled for action by Bhutan.

On the other hand, political observers are of the view that with immense links with Nepal and Bhutan in the matter of business and infrastructure development, China could in every possibility be pressurizing the two countries to adopt a hostile attitude towards India. One feels that China may continue to throw hurdles in India’s path towards growth and development.

Meanwhile, the Bhutan government has issued a clarification, stating that media reports alleging that they (Bhutan) have stopped the supply of irrigation water to areas in Assam "are totally baseless."
It also said that such reports are a "deliberate attempt by vested interests to cause misunderstanding between friendly people of Bhutan & Assam."

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