India proposes to build road via Bhutanese territory claimed by China
In the first week of July, Beijing objected to Bhutan's request for funds to develop the Sakteng wildlife sanctuary at an online meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)
July 14, 2020 / 04:48 PM IST
India has proposed construction of a road in Bhutan to enable New Delhi to quickly access Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, which borders China. The road will reduce the distance between Guwahati and Tawang by 150 kilometres. It will also allow India to quickly deploy troops in the eastern region of Bhutan in response to any military moves by China.
India has earmarked Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to build the road, which is important for Bhutan too. The road will connect Lumla near Tawang with Trashigang in Bhutan. New Delhi and Thimphu have shared security interests, reported Economic Times.
China has made fresh claims over Bhutanese territory. The Chinese foreign ministry had earlier in July said, "The boundary between China and Bhutan has never been delimited."
Beijing also objected to Bhutan's request for funds to develop the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary at an online meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) saying "it was disputed territory". The wildlife sanctuary, located in eastern Bhutan, covers 650 sq km and has not been disputed by China in the past.
The Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is said to be home to the mythical ‘Yeti’ or ‘Migoi’ in Bhutanese. The area is also home to Brokpas — a semi-nomadic population which migrated from Tibet in the 14th century.
Bhutan and China have been negotiating to settle the boundary dispute since 1984. Till last month, China never registered any claim on Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary or any other area in eastern Bhutan during the 24 rounds of boundary negotiations between 1984 and 2016.