'India didn't respect Bhutan's sovereignty'

Thimpu protests against Beijing's road decision

'India didn't respect Bhutan's sovereignty'

China on Wednesday alleged that India disrespected Bhutan’s sovereignty by stopping construction of a road by its army in Doklam Plateau, western Bhutan.

India did not officially respond to the allegation, but a source in New Delhi said Thimphu has issued a démarche to Beijing in protest against the construction of the road by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in a territory which is the subject of a territorial dispute between Bhutan and China.

The road, being built by the PLA, leads to a camp of the Royal Bhutan Army.
Beijing repeatedly insisted that Doklam Plateau belonged to China, not to Bhutan or India. It, however, noted that China-Bhutan boundary was not delineated and India had disrespected the sovereignty of Bhutan by interfering in the dispute and blocking construction of the road despite being a “third party”.

Earlier, China alleged that the Indian Army trespassed into its territory in Doklam Plateau and stopped its personnel from constructing a road.

Lu Kang, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese government, told journalists in Beijing that Bhutan was “a universally recognised sovereign country”. “Hope countries can respect the sovereignty of the country. The China-Bhutan boundary is not delineated, no third party should interfere in this matter and make irresponsible remarks or actions,” he said, subtly taking a dig at India. Lu, however, refused to acknowledge that the road was being built in a disputed territory.

“Donglang (Doklam) is part of China's territory. This is indisputable. The Donglang area belonged to China since ancient times,” Lu was quoted by PTI as saying. “I should say it doesn't belong to Bhutan, nor it belongs to India. So we have a complete legal basis for this. Chinese construction of the road project is legitimate,” he said.

Another source in New Delhi dismissed Beijing’s allegation that India had disrespected the sovereignty of Bhutan. India-Bhutan bilateral ties were “anchored in a strong foundation of trust, mutual confidence and understanding” and India had been and would always remain “sensitive to the interests” of Bhutan, said the source.

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