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China setting up villages in Bhutan to gain military advantage over India: Report

There has been no breakthrough in the India-China talks for disengagement in Ladakh. (PTI). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

THIMPHU, May 10, 2021, Money Control. As part of a major construction drive by Chinese President Xi Jinping since 2017, Beijing has been creating multilevel construction in the territory internationally and historically understood as Bhutanese since 2015, Money Control reported.

China announced that a new village, called Gyalaphug in Tibetan or Jieluobu in Chinese, had been established in the south of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), an investigative Foreign Policy report has said.

China doesn’t need the land it is settling in Bhutan—its aim is to force the Bhutanese government to cede territory that China wants elsewhere in Bhutan to give Beijing a military advantage in its struggle with New Delhi, the report said.

Reportedly, Gyalaphug is now one of three new villages, two already occupied, one under construction. Moreover, such a settlement openly violates the terms of China’s founding treaty with Bhutan.

“By mirroring in the Himalayas the provocative tactics it has used in the South China Sea, Beijing is risking its relations with its neighbours, whose needs and interests it has always claimed to respect, and jeopardizing its reputation worldwide,” Robert Barnett, the author of the Foreign Policy report said.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.

In 2017, Beijing’s attempt to build a road in the Doklam plateau, a trijunction between India, China and Bhutan, was met with a 73-day face-off between Chinese and Indian troops.

The publication said that it contacted the spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the Bhutanese mission to the United Nations and the prime minister’s office, and both the Chinese embassy in Washington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing for a response to this story. It received no response from the Chinese government, which rarely comments on stories before publication. The Indian government said it had no comment. The Bhutanese government did not respond to multiple inquiries.

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