New Delhi: China, which has been a constant source of trouble for India (Indo-China Relations), is now pressuring Bhutan to establish diplomatic relations with itself and resolve the border issues “as soon as possible”. China wants to “legalise” the relations between the two neighbouring countries, which have been strained by the long-standing border dispute. Meanwhile, Bhutan’s Foreign Minister Dr. Tandi Dorjee visited Beijing to participate in the China-Bhutan border talks. He also met Chinese Vice President Han Zheng last Tuesday.
According to the statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Chinese Vice President Zheng said that both sides have agreed to accelerate the border demarcation process and establish diplomatic relations between the two countries. He said that China and Bhutan are friendly neighbours, although the two countries have not yet established diplomatic relations. He stressed establishing diplomatic relations with Bhutan, saying, “China always respects Bhutan’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and is willing to strengthen exchanges at all levels and sectors.”
He also said that China would work with Bhutan to provide more benefits to both the countries and the people. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Dorji that the restoration of diplomatic relations would also serve the long-term interests of the two countries comprehensively.
India’s tension increased
China has always been eyeing the borders of other countries with its expansionist agenda. At the same time, it wants to maintain good bilateral relations with smaller countries, especially when it has an old border dispute with India. However, China did not even recognise Bhutan as an independent country until a few years ago. In fact, it considered Bhutan as one of the five fingers of Tibet, along with Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. It also covers Doklam, where the trijunction of India, Bhutan and China is located.
No diplomatic relations between China and Bhutan
China and Bhutan do not have diplomatic relations yet, but officials from both countries keep a bilateral dialogue through their visits from time to time. China has resolved border disputes with 12 other neighbouring countries. But India and Bhutan are two countries that have not yet signed border agreements with Beijing. In such a situation, India is worried that China is trying to woo Bhutan away from its close partnership with India.