On 29th July 2017, an article on Doklam Standoff was published in OneIndia News. The writer Vicky Nanjappa a senior Correspondent quoting " highly placed sources" wrote. To quote :
1. " For Bhutan, India guarantees its security through the 2007 Friendship Treaty."
This statement is a reiteration of the recent Indian Government stand that Bhutan is a " Protectorate state " of India.
Not at all acceptable to Bhutan and far from ground realities.
2 " Bhutan has allowed access to Indians on its territory."
This statement alludes to the forceful encampment of Indian troops on the Bhutanese side of disputed Doklam Plateau after confrontation with Chinese construction party.
Now one can understand why India claimed first that they " were requested by Bhutan Army" and later changed to " in coordination with Bhutan Army " and possibly after my blog which rubbished such ludicrous claims, India declared that they were " protecting the security of their so called chicken neck". India has no right of whatsoever to station Indian Army combat troops on Bhutanese side of Doklam or the disputed area.
Actually India's real goal was to engulf Bhutan because they used the Doklam intrusion to declare:
1. That Bhutan is a " Indian protectorate state ." That's what India said of Sikkim before submerging her.
2. India chose to brandish the 1949 Indo- Bhutan Treaty wherein it was stated that Bhutan's foreign affairs was to be guided by India. That clause was removed in the 2007 revised 1949 Indo- Bhutan Treaty. Bhutan opted to conduct her foreign affairs independently and had never sought Indian guidance. However, this time during Doklam crisis, India refused to recognise Bhutan' s right to her own independent foreign policy.
3. India made claims about a "security pact" with Bhutan.There is no such pact. Nothing in the knowledge of the Bhutanese Parliament or the people.
The Royal Bhutan Government or the Royal Bhutan Army whose Supreme Commander is His Majesty the King would never have agreed to India's interference into the Bhutan- China Border Talks especially by use of military force. Bhutan is a small nation. We have to find peaceful means. Involving Indian Government or Indian Army is the shortest route to national suicide.
Let me relate following historical decisions of the Kings of Bhutan to demonstrate how wary Bhutan had always been of silent takeover by the powerful neighbourly friend called India.
1. In 1962 during Sino- India war, the 3rd King of Bhutan granted safe passage to Indian soldiers fleeing Arunachal through Eastern Bhutan to India only after the soldiers surrendered their rifles at Tashigang Dzong. This demonstrates that Bhutan does not welcome armed combat troops even that of India. .
2. In 2003, India offered combat troops to Bhutan to fight Indian militant groups. There is already IMTRAT the training wing of Indian Army in Bhutan.They are supposed to be unarmed and therefore, not in the category of regular fighting force.
His Majesty the 4th King was not sure whether his own force could expel the militant groups. After all, the greater numbered militants were also battle hardened and well armed. But His Majesty was sure of one reality. That was if he accepted combat troops of Indian Army into the Kingdom, that would be the end of sovereign Bhutan. So the King took the less evil option. The offer of Indian Army was declined. And His Majesty decided to lead in person the Royal Bhutan Army to expel the various groups like ULFA , BODO and KLO Indian militants camped in the thick jungles of Southern Bhutan.
The People and the Government of Bhutan was fearful for the personal safety of the royal being and tried to dissuade the King. But His Majesty's response revealed how deeply he had pondered. The King said, " If I am not there in the field to look after my brave soldiers, the slim chance that we have in defeating the militants is lost. And a defeat in the battle field means the lost of Bhutan. Therefore, the danger to the Bhutanese nation and the throne is more imminent if I stay behind." Thus began the " Operation All Clear " under His Majesty's personal command. And all militant groups were successfully cleared out from Bhutan by the Bhutan Army. The defeat of the Indian militant groups by the Bhutanese Army stunned the Indian Army to silent reverence.The feat surpassed all dictates of art of army war- fares.
Considering such super human sacrifices made by the people and Kings of Bhutan, it would be crazy to seek Indian intervention at Doklam. Indian Army had simply bull dozed in unannounced. An invasion at Doklam happened.
Initially it seemed that Bhutan was duped by Indian action at Doklam. Maybe Bhutan just meekly succumbed to Indian aggression on the border front and diplomatic arm twisting on the foreign affairs front. Bhutan complained to China and even issued a Press Release that
were in line with political ploy of India.Thankfully Bhutan, ultimately, recognised betrayal signs and decided to stand her ground. Bhutan refused to condone Indian transgression at Doklam. If she had , next thing Thimphu, Paro and Haa would have been flooded with Indian combat troops and war machinaries on the pretext of enevitability of Chinese invasion. From the day one of transgression at Doklam, vociferous Indians and even few treacherous pro-Indian Bhutanese voices were crying aloud about the danger posed by China from Doklam to the northern Valleys of Haa, Paro and Thimphu. Doklam is actually part of Samtse Dzongkhag in the South. Most Bhutanese did not even hear of name of the remote mountsin Plateau till then. And ironically if such evil people had their ways, before China or even most Bhutanese woke up, Bhutan could have been another Sikkim.
Bhutan is weak and small to physically challenge the might of India. However, by all international standard, Bhutan should have cried " foul" against India for the transgression into Bhutanese controlled Doklam territory by armed troops of India.
This is the reason why China has been demanding that Indian Army withdraw from the present positions or there will be an all out war. China had declared in no uncertain term that this transgression was very different in nature and intent from all other China- India border skirmishes. India was defying China from a third country territory. Therefore, China is threatening to attack wherever Indian Army is. Which means all of Indian land, sea and even Bhutan the unwilling host of Indian Army at the Tri Junction. I feel that any nation not just China, has the sovereign and moral rights to take firm and effective retaliatory action against such treacherous conduct.
But even in her deep humiliating state of silent distress and perhaps in dismayed betrayal confusion, Bhutan found the political sanity not to cower down to the level of condoning Indian transgression into Bhutan as well as into the Chinese Doklam. And that stumped the Indian touted position " protecting Bhutan from China " that India tried hard selling to the international community. India is not protecting Bhutan. India is trying to engulf Bhutan on premeditated pretext.
I had earlier said that Doklam incident may be the working of our Deities. And strangely it might turn out to be just that. India did not bargain upon China's determination for an all out war in 5 fronts for this Indian act of treachery at Doklam. India it seems was planning for a limitted war. However, to the Chinese, a limitted war restricted to Doklam only, would in any case sabotage the Chinese goal of One Belt Road Initiative and further compromise the buffer status of Bhutan in India's favour. If a war must happen with India, it made more sense for China to have a full scale war at all 5 fronts ( Bhutan-Sikkim, Arunachal, Kashmir, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal). That would be a decisive war worth risking.
It seems that both America and Japan have no appetite for such a large scale war stretching from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean. During the recent Malabar naval and air war exercises conducted concurrently with Doklam crisis by America, India and Japan, China sent 13 war ships plus submarines to convey a definitive message to the tiresome three. In addition the new aircraft carrier of China was docked at Hong Kong to get Japanese attention. Personally, I hope Japan had nothing to do, even remotely, with Doklam venture. Bhutan and Japan enjoy the highest of regards between people and the Royal Houses.
A short limitted war between India and China suited Western armament industries and American policy of containing China. Or at the least distracting China from One Belt Road Initiative and South China Sea. But an all out global war where even Russia could get involved was a No No. Thus it appears that India left on her own, has been forced to capitulate after the sneaky transgression.
India had quietly amassed huge forces at Sikkim and Siliguri Chicken neck in preparation for a limitted war at Doklam to quote an Indian writer, " to give a bloody nose to China " who was caught off guard at Doklam. India wanted to establish full and complete hegemony over Bhutan through a short brief war at Doklam. Not a full scale five front war.
The same correspondent Vicky Nanjappa also revealed how India was now going about to resolve the Standoff at Doklam. To quote him :
" It is a complex situation and India at best would withdraw troops on the pre-condition that it is replaced by the forces from Bhutan." Similar political view has been again repeated in The Indian Express by Sushant Singh on 4th August ( today) .
What this means is that the Indian Security Advisor Ajit Doval had conveyed to Beijing the willingness of Indian Army to withdraw from Bhutan and China Doklam.
Nanjappa's above statement is couched in diplomatic face saving graceful language.
China would never accept Bhutanese Army in place of Indian Army in the Chinese controlled Doklam territory. So it had to be a reference to Indian Army vacating Bhutan controlled Doklam territory which would subsequently leave only Bhutanese patrolling contigent behind. Naturally that would suit Bhutan.
But simple withdrawl from Doklam would not have appeased the most infuriated Chinese PLA. So the offer had to be accompanied by the commitment not to interfere into the Sino- Bhutan Border Talks as well as never again encroach into Chinese controlled Doklam or attempt to station Indian combat troops on Bhutanese territory at the Tri- Junction or other Sino- Bhutan Borders. Some hints are already reflected in The Indian Express article today.
I just hope and pray that Bhutan signs the Border Agreement with China and establish diplomatic relation, too. That would be a fitting Majestic response from Bhutan to the blatant Indian arrogance and aggression. I do not care for China but for Bhutan such an Agreement would elevate Bhutan amongst the international community. And Bhutan will never be so readily trampled over and alleged to be a " Protectorate State" under India.
India twisted the friendship language of the 2007 Treaty that distanced Bhutan from India to that of further subjugation and proclaimed Bhutan as her " Protectorate state". Such stands have wounded both Bhutanese national status and caused lasting damage to the golden Throne. In one single stroke, India callously blackened the legacy of the 4th King who got the 1949 Indo-Bhutan Treaty revised in 2007 and the reigning King who signed the Treaty. In doing so, India explicitly implied that the Kings of Bhutan are her surrogates reigning Bhutan under the Indian guarantees. Not as sovereign Kings of a sovereign Kingdom.
The established historical fact is that Wangchuck Dynasty of Bhutan was established in 1907 exactly 40 years before India even got her independence from the British Raj. Now Bhutan has to find a dignified way to stand up and regain lost honour. No need to ask IMTRAT AND DANTAK to leave. We hold genuine friendship for Indian people and real appreations for economic aids and transit passages. Let's simply elevate Bhutan to equal neighbourly status and realistic friendship terms with both India and China. Time and events are calling upon Bhutanese leadership to act with courage and speed. Bhutan needs to sign the Sino- Bhutan Border Agreement and open embassies with China. All can then rest easier with recovered dignity.
Pelden Drukpa! Gyel Lo!