China can’t be countered by Centre’s PR-driven strategy, says Rahul Gandhi

Elias Hubbard
November 26, 2020

Maxar said there had also been construction of "new military storage bunkers" near the Doklam area.

Map exhibiting extent of Chinese development in Doklam space. Copyright: Maxar Technologies 2020, Google Earth.

"After (2017), they realised, just like the Indian side, their border areas are very thinly populated so it becomes very hard to patrol the area".

However, they were prevented from building a road there by Indian forces, who said it would give Chinese soldiers a clear view of a slim area of land known as the "chicken's neck", which analysts say is strategically important for India.

Map exhibiting China-Bhutan border area.

Tensions had intensified during the conflict in Doklam in 2017, a contested plateau close to Sikkim and near the tri-junction of the three countries - China, Bhutan and India.

Dr Brahma Chellaney, a strategic affairs expert, has said China have left the stand-off site alone since then but have built structures "in the rest of Doklam".

"The high resolution imagery also shows how precarious of a village it is, being constructed on what is essentially a sandbank in the middle of a mountain river valley (where snowmelt and high cliffs make water flow unpredictable and flash floods common)", observed Ruser, a researcher at ASPI's International Cyber Policy Centre.

A tweet posted by CGTN news producer Shen Shiwei bragged about a new village in the region complete with Chinese flags, before giving oddly specific location details.

"Now, we have permanent residents living in the newly established Pangda village". It's along the valley, 35 km south to Yadong country. "Here is a map to indicate the placement".

However images captured by US-based satellite imaging company Maxar suggest China is deploying the same strategy of expansionism it has done in disputed areas of the South Chia Sea by unilaterally building up its physical presence, including a village which appears to be well inside the Bhutan border.

The ambassador to New Delhi told NDTV: "There is no Chinese village inside Bhutan".

Asked whether Bhutan and China had reached any understanding on realigning the border in the contested area, the Ambassador said he "does not comment on border matters". He did, nevertheless, verify that Bhutan and China have been concerned in border talks.

This marked the first deaths along the disputed border since 1975. According to Tenzing Lamsang, the Editor of The Bhutanese, "Bhutan and China recognise the 269 sq km within the west and 495 sq km in north-central Bhutan as [being] disputed and so whereas there are maximalist declare strains from either side, there isn't any mutually accepted worldwide border there but".

The imagery - dated to October 28 this year - shows several houses connected by a road located next to a river. Copyright: Maxar Technologies 2020.

The Doklam plateau is disputed between Beijing and Bhutan while India supports Bhutan's claim over it. The Indian army pulled back from the area, but now it is abundantly clear that the Chinese did not stick to their part of the deal. China now enjoys no formal diplomatic relations with Bhutan.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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