Middle East

India is watching China “accelerate” construction along the border with Bhutan

According to new satellite images and experts, China will speed up construction in 2021 with more than 200 buildings in six regions along the forefront of the conflict with Bhutan, a small Himalayan country and India’s ally. Was built.

According to experts, the new images suggest that neither India nor Bhutan are responding to China’s construction activities in the field. (TRTWorld)

According to satellite image analysis, more than 200 buildings are under construction along the conflict border with Bhutan, including a two-story building, accelerating the construction of the village.

The images and analysis provided by U.S. data analysis company Hawk Eye360 to Reuters have used satellites to gather information about ground-level activities and have been scrutinized by two other experts on the border with Bhutan. Learn more about China’s recent construction along.

Construction-related activities have been underway in several locations along the western border of Bhutan since early 2020, and China first built railroad tracks based on materials provided by satellite imagery companies Capella Space and Planet Labs. And the area was wiped out, Chris Biggers said. Mission Application Director for HawkEye360.

The image shows that work speeded up in 2021. Smaller structures were built-perhaps to accommodate equipment and fixtures-laying foundations and then building buildings.

“For me, 2021 was a time of acceleration,” Biggers said.

Two other experts who studied recent satellite images taken by the new construction site and Capella Space said all six settlements appear to be in the territory being contested by China and Bhutan. .. Resource or native population method.

read more: What does the Bhutan-China border agreement mean for India?

Bhutan does not publicly discuss border issues

“It is Bhutan’s policy not to talk about border issues in public,” Bhutan’s Foreign Ministry answered the question.

The ministry declined to comment further.

According to an expert and an Indian defense source, the construction suggests that China is trying to resolve border claims by embodying ambitions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China said the construction was “completely to improve the working and living conditions of the local population.”

“It is within China’s sovereignty to carry out normal construction activities on its territory,” the ministry said.

The ministry declined to comment further.

read more: China’s move to the Doklam Highlands could block access to northeastern India

Bhutan, a country with a population of less than 800,000, has been negotiating for about 40 years to resolve the 477km border with Beijing.

Bhutan, a country with a population of less than 800,000, has been negotiating for about 40 years to resolve the 477km border with Beijing. (Reuters)

Over 40 years of controversy

Two experts said the village is also providing strategic value to Beijing. The new construction is located 9-27 km from the Dokulam area at the confluence of the Indian, Bhutan and Chinese borders, and in 2017 Indian and Chinese troops were trapped in standoffs for more than two months.

According to one expert and Indian defense sources, the reconciliation will allow China to better manage and monitor remote areas and potentially use them to establish security-focused facilities. ..

The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to requests for comment.

Bhutan, a country with a population of less than 800,000, has been negotiating for about 40 years to resolve the 477km border with Beijing. At issue for Bhutan is not only territorial integrity, but also concerns about the potential security implications of India, a major ally and economic partner of the Himalaya Kingdom.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bhutan said Bhutan and China agreed in the latest border negotiations in April 2021 to speed up the process of resolving the differences between the two. We refrained from discussing the details of the plan.

“All issues are being discussed between Bhutan and China within the framework of border negotiations,” the ministry said.

Robert Barnet, a specialist researcher at SOAS University in London, said: A Tibetan expert, he has studied the border between China and Bhutan in detail.

READ MORE: China’s Breakdown-India’s negotiations are a “severe omen” for the region

Subsidy to settle in a border village

The settlement is part of a plan announced by Beijing in 2017 to build more than 600 villages in the border area of ​​the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) on the Chinese side of the conflicting border, Barnett and M. Taylor. Flavel, director of the Security Research Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology mentioned.

Fravel said the construction shows that China wants to strengthen its control and improve infrastructure in border areas.

The Chinese-controlled TAR was founded in 1965, six years after the Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed rebellion against Chinese rule.

Some of the villages near the border are being built in places that were not previously built. According to Burnett, the Chinese government is subsidizing residents to settle there.

“All cross-border villages in western Bhutan are located in areas where natural villages are not found, because these areas are almost uninhabitable,” he said.

read more: Can India’s “neighborhood priority policy” win regional allies?

By managing this area, Beijing

Dominating this area could give Beijing access to a “chicken neck”. This is a small and essential land that connects the northeastern provinces of India with the rest of the country. (TRTWorld)

Control the “chicken neck”

Managing remote Dokulam Plateaus has the potential to increase access to the adjacent “Chickens Neck” region, a strategic land linking India and the northeast.

India shares an unresolved 3,500km border with China.

The troops of both countries remain close to each other in another border conflict in the Ladakh region (about 1,100 km from Dokulam), which clashed in hand-to-hand combat in 2020.

According to Indian defense sources, India has been closely monitoring China’s construction along the border and was not named because of its sensitivity to the problem.

Satellite images suggest that neither India nor Bhutan has responded to China’s construction activities in the field, Biggers said.

Nathan Loser, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s research institute, added that countering China’s construction is a challenge for India and Bhutan.

“Any action taken against these Chinese facilities will inevitably endanger civilians,” Loser said.

“It limits the way India and Bhutan can fight China’s invasion of conflict areas.”

read more: Anxiety at the frontiers of northeastern India can turn into a big problem

Source: Reuters

https://www.trtworld.com/asia/india-watches-as-china-accelerates-construction-along-border-with-bhutan-53595?utm_source=other&utm_medium=rss India is watching China “accelerate” construction along the border with Bhutan

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