India must respect Bhutan’s sovereignty

By I P Adhikari

The muscle flexing of the two rising powers in Asia is posing serious threat to the very stability in Himalayas this summer. The tussle is between the uncompromising New Delhi and Beijing whereas pain is transferred to the local residents who fear tension escalation means their life in danger.

On top of that, it’s primarily the sovereignty-threat of another small country Bhutan whose border dispute protruded into this regional tension. The dispute should have been between Bhutan and China since the road construction was claimed to be inside Bhutanese border – the disputed border.

Indian political parties and media hyped the situation and Indian military marched ahead for confrontation. India’s hyperactive character has undermined the sovereignty of Bhutan. India has not acted in Bhutan’s favour but projected it can decide on behalf of Bhutan.

Historically, India has always undermined sovereignty of its smaller neighbours. Bhutan was the last country to accept India as a positive neighbour and this is fast eroding.

Since 1998 when Bhutan and China decided to finalise border demarcation through dialogue, India indiscriminately interfered and obstructed Bhutan’s willingness to establish peace in the Himalayas. Sans India, Bhutan-China border would have resolved years ago. India maintains, Bhutan, who receives billions as grants from the southern neighbour, must remain obedient to it. It must remain a disciple, a loyal follower. Its time, India must adhere by what Jawaharlal Nehru said in Paro during his visit in 1958:

“Some may think that since India is a great and powerful country and Bhutan a small one, the former might wish to exercise pressure on Bhutan. It is therefore essential that I make it clear to you that our only wish is that you should remain an independent country, choosing your own way of life and taking the path of progress according to your will.”

Bhutan, at its best, maintains this status, yet it is making gradual efforts to distance from the Indian hegemony of describing Bhutan as its protectorate. Bhutan wants to return to its historic and cultural shelves of Tibet while India continues its undesirable presence in northern Bhutan.

Bhutan has spoken only once since the Doklam stand off. Bhutan said it does not accept Chinese presence in the dispute area and hinted at ending conflicting situation at the earliest possible. The continued Indian media coverage and political talk in Delhi are indication that Bhutanese statement was circulated under Indian pressure.

Bhutanese foreign ministry statement reads, ‘Bhutan has conveyed to the Chinese side, both on the ground and through the diplomatic channel, that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the agreements and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between our two countries. Bhutan hopes that the status quo in the Doklam area will be maintained as before 16 June 2017.’

India continued is propaganda saying the Chinese had intruded into India territory. China had rightly maintained, the dispute is between Thimphu and Beijing, India has nothing to do here. India could have come forward to help to Bhutan against China’s intrusion but Bhutan hasn’t said it has sought such help. The dispute is not in tri-junction as claimed by Indian media but clearly on China-Bhutan border in Haa district.

It’s on India’s onus whether it wants the tension to escalate and face possible humiliating defeat at Chinese hands or dispel diplomatic channel to ease the tension. India must respect Bhutanese sovereignty – not take it as granted.

12 Responses to India must respect Bhutan’s sovereignty

  1. Victor Fan says:

    The author seems to be short sighted and has not looked into history and even to Tibet. Bhutan would have already been part of China like Tibet . Authors like this whole take money from China to write their views should be thrown out of country

    • art says:


      Everybody likes to bring up Tibet and as if India is a saint. Sikkim was taken over by india through encouraged subsidized immigration of Indians into the NEFA and a sham election. A sham election mine as well be no elections just like Tibet. Now if we were to going to look further. The Chinese treats the Tibetans and raise the livelihood of the average Tibetans much much more than what India has done to the Sikkim region.

      If India didn’t annex Sikkim, China and India wouldn’t have this common border it has now. The same can be said about China.

      So don’t throw rocks in a glass house.

    • K says:

      Tibet has long been recognized as part of China by the international community. The 1890 treaty between Great Britain and China regarding the border demarcation of Tibet and Sikkim clearly shows that China consider Tibet part of its territory and Great Britain agreed.

      The United States also recognizes Tibet to be a part of China long before Communist China came into existence. Watch this clip produced in 1944 by the US Department of Defense.

      The British from the beginning of the last century was trying to carve Tibet out from China as a buffer zone against Russia to protect the Raj. When Chinese communist took over China the US join the British and provide covert support to Tibetans to rise against China. But at no point at any time does any country recognize Tibet as an independent sovereign state. Not the British, not the US nor any other country.

  2. Yusuf Ansari says:

    Wow what a douchebag reporter. You think you get money from China and can rant about India. Get a life you asshole.

    • Lee Tomas says:

      India is bullying Bhutan with its economic and military clout.The whole world will soon know the truth. India pretend to be a protector of Bhutan while planning its hideous agenda.Show your respect!

  3. Rem L says:

    There were cross-border military operations of India in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar and Pakistan, and now in Bhutan. Why India is doing “Non-of-your-business” thing to these comparatively small and weak neighbouring countries?

    India had liberated or created Bangladesh from Pakistan, annexed Manipur, Tripura and Sikkim, and now looking for Bhutan?

  4. Black hong says:

    India must respect Bhutan’s sovereignty. India was ruled by Britain for that many years,and finally gained independence. Independene is extremely valuable for a nation. Why does India still maintain control over Bhutan? If this is not hegemony,then what is hegemony?

  5. Ken says:

    Never underestimate a past woman’s determination and madness

  6. nikitin says:

    the above two Indians really humane Hinduism.The author just said the truth, they said the author took the money from China. The madness will be destroyed.

  7. Mike says:

    India want Bhutan as a part of India like Sikkim.

  8. Peter says:

    Indians are hiding behind Bhutan to pursue its own interests in Doklam, causing unrest in Asia.

    If China acts like any other big powers especially Western powers, India’s capital would be taken already. But India is safe as long as it does not fire first shot. Although China would not fire the first shot, India would not be able to stay across the border for too long.

    Then there is this huge of loss of face on India’s side.

  9. Samer Serhan says:

    This author seems to be the stooge of China and speaking on behalf of Chinese. Even he is quoting the statement and still, thinks it is India’s fault -> construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the agreements and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between our two countries.

    Nowhere in the article, he once mentioned about China annexing the whole of South China Sea against UNCLOS, bullying South Korea over THAAD, Japan over East Sea and illegally giving nuclear weapons to Pakistan and North Korea. China has single handedly damaged the peace in Asia.

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