India is not in position to militarily or economically challege China as yet. Maybe never for forseeable future. So India engages in irritating China without suffering direct repercussions by mis- using and manipulating Bhutan and her inexperienced and easily awed elected fresh political leaders.
India's anti- China activities are like sexual aggression of a frustrated partner. And the Kingdom of Bhutan seems to be just a tickle in the clitoris of Indian vagina when she demonstrates frustrations towards China. Lets review the past events since PM Modi came to power in India wherein India mis-used Bhutan to irritate China. It is not to say that Gandhi ruled India did not pawn Bhutan in her game of international politics..
1. In 2014, PM Modi visited Bhutan and he told the Bhutanese Parliament about the possible joint tourism wonders of Bhutan and the 8 North Eastern Frontier States of India which includes Arunachal Pradesh that China also stakes claim to as " South Tibet ". The political sting came later in the proposal by the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh seeking motor road connection from Arunachal Pradesh to Bhutan's North- South Eastern Highway ( Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar ).
It was not just about road connection. It was getting Bhutan to side with India in border dispute between China and India. Bhutan is in no position to side with any party.
2. Then the Arunachal ploy to entrap Bhutan was followed by India preventing Bhutan from constructing the South Bhutan Highway citing Indian security misgivings.
3. The PDP leadership of Bhutan meekly accepted the Indian manufactured security dictate and cancelled the ADB funded South Bhutan Highway construction Project. Nevertheless, the PDP government did go about trying to connect pockets of settlements in South Bhutan by constructing local road networks in few Southern Dzongkhags. And also despite enforced snail pace, did manage to complete the Amochu bridge at the end of her tenure. So today Samtse and Chukha Dzongkgags are connected by road network built inside South Bhutan.
However, sadly the South Bhutan Highway is long way off awaiting a true Palden Drukpa hearted PM in the future. Right now, South Bhutan lies dangerously under indirect control of India and looks like the well heeled anti- national forces settled out in the West, too, is angling to separate part of the South from rest of Bhutan. Such anti-nationals do not want South Bhutan Highway because the Highway strengthens the overall physical control and security of the Kingdom. Why PM Tshering Tobgay of PDP Party was and why PM Lotay Tshering of DNT Party is against South Bhutan Highway baffles me. I presume that the wise leadership at the very summit of authority is aware of the precarious path the nation is treading upon.
4. Then there was that new electricity power import bully regulation introduced by India in December, 2016. It was actually to put a brake on Nepal- China hydro projects and ofcourse to intimidate Bhutan to further concessions in hydro ventures. At the same time, India back tracked on her commitment made during DPT government to assist Bhutan in contructing a total of 10,000 megawatt hydro projects. PDP government also had given in to Indian objections to 2 major projects including Amochu hydro project agreed to by India during DPT government.
Recently India did away with the hydro-bully regulation of Dec, 2016 because :
i). The threat did not stop Nepal- China joint hydro-ventures and co- operations in all other economic and political spheres. Infact Nepal even went on to have a joint Nepal-China Army exercise after cancelling a scheduled similar exercise with Indian Army.
ii). The political scenario of Bhutan 2018 election also jolted Indian political pandits in New Delhi. So India in addition to doing away with her bully hydro regulation, hastily reconfirmed this time her commitment made to the 1st Bhutanese democratic government's national goal of 10,000 megawatt hydro projects. ( By the way the white gold national vision was set by the Institution of Monarchy. DPT Party was just translating it into deeds).
5. India finally took a huge political gamble in June, 2017 to domicile Bhutan once and for all time by invading Doklam and telling China and the world that Bhutan asked for help. Ofcourse that Indian claim was a blatant lie. No King of Bhutan would ever stoop so low or be so reckless to hand over his Kingdom to one foreign Army to prevent takeover by another " supposed aggressor ". To do so would be the beginning of a quick end to Bhutan as a Kingdom. An India instigated war with China over Doklam or Bhutan would have made Bhutan the battle ground. The consequences of such a war cannot be all good for India, Bhutan and even the institution of Monarchy. The Bhutanese people would be shattered by the betrayal.
5. This time during Bhutanese PM Lotay Tshering 's maiden visit to India, again Indian government converted the visit to a collusion pact against China. At the Joint Press Conference of the two Prime Ministers of Bhutan and India, the Indian PM Narendra Modi declared that ISRO ( Indian Space Research Organisation) was about to complete a satellite receiving station in Bhutan. And slyly later had Indian Media construe that the satellite receiving station in Thimphu was ISRO counter measure to the one in Tibet.
The satellite station is for getting datas from the SAARC Satellite put in the orbit by India for all saarc members. It is a small station built in Thimphu with assistance from ISRO. And despite the international political ramifications that Indian Prime Minister tried to promote, many knowledgeable agencies must be laughing out aloud. Surely ISRO has far bigger and better equipped satellite stations in the Indian States of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh or elsewhere in India to counter China. Why did the Indian PM try to convey the impression that Bhutan was colluding with India to counter China in the satellite spying game? It was another Indian political ploy to misuse and manipulate the presence of " over- awed and politically naive Bhutanese PM " at the press conference in New Delhi.
In conclusion, I would as a sincere well wisher for respectable and sound Indo- Bhutan relationship, humbly offer the following advice to Indian leaders.
It is high time that Indian PMs and Indian government agencies realised that the Wangchuck dynasty has to stand for Bhutan not for India. And that contrary to the presumptions of Indian policy makers, the Kings cannot always serve Indian national and regional goals. Wise, polite, friendly to India but not at all a willing pawn of India in her China strategy. Everytime India attempts to portray the Kingdom of Bhutan as hers to rule, the Monarchy would be more wary of such aggressive domination and take silent counter measures. The 5th King is young in health but not a first timer or just a 12 year reign experienced Royal. Political education starts from as young an age as the present Crown Prince and survival instinct is groomed in the womb itself.
Kingship in Bhutan is hereditary but position of crown prince is by destiny only ( the 1st born prince). That ensures a born leader. So India, do not treat the Kingdom of Bhutan as a tickle for your passion whilst courting or challenging China. Enough is enough.
Bhutan's last two PMs Tshering Tobgay and Lotay Tshering maybe fresh and gullible from the start. But King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck has over a century of royal leadership experience behind him and unlike 5 year term PMs, the King has generations of future reasons that destine him to stand up for Bhutan. Bhutan cannot be the surrogate Indian general against China. India must settle her own border disputes and regional power tussle with China directly and not behind shadow of the little Kingdom of Bhutan.
The government of India may tread less recklessly, hereafter, in her dealings with Bhutanese people's aspirations despite a combination of two pro- India political Parties ensuring a win for DNT Party in the Bhutanese General Election of 2018. Regardless of assurrances from PDP and DNT leaders that Indo- Bhutan serf-master relationship is still valid, the government of India and her political pandits have realised that general Bhutanese people aspired for sovereign dignity. So sooner or later, India would have to deal with a DPT or DPT like Bhutanese democratic government who has the courage and determination to seek more economic and political independence for Bhutan. It is a belated awakening but political think tanks in India have now understood that there is a simmering political steam underneath the gnh lid awaiting to cook dead this serfdom mentality of PDP and DNT leaderships. I also think that our political leaders cannot forever bury national aspiration and self determination choice in a political environment exposed to democratic and economic breeze of the outside world.