Sunday, January 6, 2019

Bhutan mis- used as an irritant in Indian anti-China strategy?

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.

Footnote:
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.

7 comments:

  1. Britain, the country that spawn India, position on Tibet has been nefarious because at one time it has territorial design on Tibet when it has an empire in South Asia and after it retreated from South Asia it still found Tibet useful as a bargaining chip it still has Hong Kong. At the end of 2008, a little over a decade after Britain returned Hong Kong back to China, Britain finally has no stake in Tibet and can afford to be honest for once. The British government put out a statement recognizing China's sovereignty of Tibet (before it was suzerainty, not sovereignty) and in one fell swoop trashes whatever rationale India has on its claim on South Tibet (Arunachal Pradesh), however ridiculous and illegal it was to begin with. The statement, supported by both the conservative and labor parties, is remarkable in its honesty in conceding Britain did at one time has design on Tibet and is almost apologetic in tone. Here is an excerpt:​​
    "...But our position is unusual for one reason of history that has been imported into the present: the anachronism of our formal position on whether Tibet is part of China, and whether in fact we harbour continued designs to see the break-up of China. We do not.​​
    Our ability to get our points across has sometimes been clouded by the position the UK took at the start of the 20th century on the status of Tibet, a position based on the geopolitics of the time. Our recognition of China’s “special position” in Tibet developed from the outdated concept of suzerainty. Some have used this to cast doubt on the aims we are pursuing and to claim that we are denying Chinese sovereignty over a large part of its own territory. We have made clear to the Chinese Government, and publicly, that we do not support Tibetan independence. Like every other EU member state, and the United States, we regard Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China. "​​
    https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm081029/wmstext/81029m0001.htm​​
    In 2009, India, sensing that Britain has pull a rug underneath its feet and is increasing insecure of its claim on South Tibet, cooked up a plan to ascertain India's sovereignty on South Tibet in a back door manner. It applied for a hydropower project in South Tibet to the ADB (Asian Development Bank). ADB is an United Nation agency and if the loan is approved it can be construed as the recognition of India's sovereignty on Arunachal by the international community. China protested to the ADB stating that India has no sovereignty claim on Arunachal whatsoever and India was unable to counter any of China's statement of protest. The ADB therefore reject India's application because the ADB does not recognizes India's sovereignty claim on Arunachal. So India's plan back fired badly. Instead of affirming India's claim on Arunachal, it put it on the record that India's claim on Arunachal is not recognized by the United Nation.
    Many Indians cited the MacMahon line give India the legitimacy of its claim on South Tibet. This is bogus. The MacMahon line is a diplomatic forgery and is not recognized by any Chinese government. For people who are interested in this part of British colonial duplicity, here is a very good source:
    http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article2582.html

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  2. India is adamant that Arunachal is part of India but the fact of the matter is that India's claim on South Tibet has no legal standing whatsoever. China's sovereignty on South Tibet is solid and legitimate. Here is a brief timeline of what happened to China in the last century that is relevant to this discussion. In 1911 Chinese people overthrew the 2000 years old imperial dynasty and China became a republic, the name is Republic of China (ROC) ran by the Nationalist government. In 1949 the civil war in China that was festering for decades came to a conclusion with the Chinese Communist party came to power in the mainland and the Nationalist government retreated to Taiwan. The Chinese Communist party named the new country People's Republic of China (PRC). Old Chinese map all shows the region called Arunachal today part of China, even map published by Western countries. Here is an example:
    https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:x633f939c
    This is a detailed zoomable maps and you can see that South Tibet(Arunachal) is part of China. Historic Tawang, birthplace of the Sixth Dalai Lama and home to a four hundred years old Tibetan monastery, is clearly marked and is clearly within China.
    India intrusions into China is now new and is actually a policy and practice continued from the British Raj. In fact when the Raj was intruding into China the Nationalist government has been lodging repeated representations to Britain protesting Britain's intrusion, which was duly ignored by Britain every single time. China at that time can protest but otherwise couldn't do much. China was beaten up by the Western power and many port cities in the east coast were under Western control. Hong Kong was already a British colony for a hundred year. British warships were plying along the Yangtze river with impunity. In 1951, four years after the Raj has left, India finally trekked up to Tawang and invaded and annexed the area and in one fell swoop complete the annexation of South Tibet. In 1987 India named the area Arunachal and made it a state. Both the PRC (mainland China) and the ROC (Taiwan) denounce this India's treacherous act. In fact the ROC put out a statement denouncing India's action:
    https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/trad/chinese-news-40862957​​
    Here is an excerpt (translated from Chinese):​​
    "In regards to the issue of the Indian government illegal occupation of our country's territory and establishes the so called 'Arunachal Pradesh' the foreign ministry of the Republic of China put out this announcement in midnight as follows:​​
    India illegal occupation of our country's territory, the government of the Republic of China has repeatedly stated that it will not recognize. Recently the congress of India unilaterally pass the establishment of the 'Arunachal Pradesh' on the south of the so called McMahon Line. India government also made it into a state, the government of the Republic of China once again solemnly proclaim: the government of India intend to legitimize its illegal occupation of the territory of China, the government of the Republic of China regards this as illegal, void and absolutely not recognized."

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  3. The dream of PDP and DNT merging our country with Indian is under fulfillment.

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  4. The Indian ruling elite and the highly raucous Indian media outlets continue to portray the Doklam settlement between China and India in August 2017 as a huge diplomatic victory for their nation and a big setback for President Xi, who was at the time distracted by preparations for Xiamen BRICS summit (early September 2017) and the 19th National People's Congress (mid-October 2017) at which the Chinese top leader was given a second presidential term and removal of term limit. For all their bravado talk, I do not think the Indian political leadership has the stomach or gumption to precipitate Doklam 2.0 on Bhutanese soil again. This time the Yellow Dragon is fully prepared to deal more muscularly with any Doklam adventure from India. Since the Doklam d├ętente/withdrwal in August 2017, the Yellow Dragon has made humongous advances in indigenous manufacturing of conventional weapons of war. Just a few examples: laser guns for border warfare, light mountain tanks with greater mobility, electromagnetic railguns (for the PLA Navy), stealth attack drones (for mountainous border areas) and only recently, the MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs). Bharat Mata will continue to provoke and irritate the Yellow Dragon, albeit less frequently, hiding behind the apron of Bhutan, which it (Bharat) thinks it has the right or privilege to micro-manage by remote control. For better or worse, that sliver of PRC land called the Chumbi Valley will continue to pose as a dagger pointing at the neck (Siliguri Corridor) of Bharat, and that is likely to moderate or dilute Indian machinations over Bhutan.

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  5. let the puppets of Indian govt do what they want but the general Bhutanese populace is proudly independent.

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  6. Aue Wangcha Sangey, what you said is really true. PDP or DNT are willing servants of Indian government. I wonder how low can they go to please Modi. They are either ignorant fools or simply cunning traitors. Sikkim is a stark example of how politicians sell their country for their selfish end.

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  7. This author frequent writings to expose Indian machinations is commendable and needed. For Indians sophistry is well-known and Bhutanese needs to directly let the world know what they think instead of letting the Indians tell the world what the Bhutanese think. Bhutan newspaper almost never touch on sensitive subjects and it is through blogs like this that outsiders can get a glimpse of the politics of Bhutan, particularly on subjects related to India. Gullible Westerners usually see India as a benign power, not realizing India's hegemonic bent. On a related note, Sikkim is frequently cited as an example of India's travesty but Sikkim is hardly the only independent kingdom that India annexed. Manipur is another kingdom that India annexed, in 1949. Here is a vlog of a Manipuri student studying in China proudly waving the Manipuri flag.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q84txJOENtY&t=81s

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