IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Another front: On India, Bhutan and China

23rd July, 2020 Editorial


  • For the third time since early June, China repeated its claim that Bhutan’s eastern boundary was a “disputed” area with Bhutan.

Earlier Chinese Claims:

  • China’s claims were first made at a UNDP-led Global Environment Facility conference, when the Chinese representative tried to stop funding for the Sakteng forest reserve in Bhutan’s eastern district of Trashigang, which abuts Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang district.

Reasons behind surprise of Chinese Claims:

  • Claimed area of Trashigang does not share a boundary with China.
  • Chinese officials have not raised the eastern boundary in 24 rounds of talks with Bhutan that began in 1984.
  • Earlier, talks have been only about the Pasamlung and Jakarlung valleys in Bhutan’s north, and Doklam and other pasturelands to the west, that come up to the trijunction point with India.

Chinese Solutions:

  • Package Solution: Swap the northern and western areas including Doklam.
  • Bhutan would be given the disputed areas in its north in exchange for the disputed western areas, including Doklam.


  • A pressure tactic by the China.
  • Gain leverage in the boundary talks.
  • Drive a wedge between India and Bhutan.
  • Strengthen its claim over Arunachal Boundary.
  • China is not giving up its push for the Doklam plateau, where it has consolidated its military infrastructure and would like to inch towards India’s Chumbi valley, a strategically sensitive location.

Way Forward:

  • Strengthen the diplomatic course between India and Bhutan.
  • Remain in synchronization with each other regarding talks with China.
  • Understand each other concern.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/another-front/article32165636.ece