Be that as it may, the incursion of more than 200 Chinese soldiers into Bhutan -- the CIA refers to the country as having a "strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes" -- is troubling news for people who like to keep looksee over these sorts of things. Chinese soldiers are reportedly building roads and bridges in Bhutan, a country that has a "special relationship" with India. Translation: Screw with Bhutan, you're messing with India.
The Hindustan Times reports:
Bhutan, which has a 470-km unfenced border with China, considers the unasked-for presence of the Red Army in its territory as a violation of the 1998 Sino-Bhutanese border treaty of peace and tranquillity. Rattled by the developments, the tiny kingdom, which shares a special relationship and a 605-km border with India, has also informed the Indian home ministry.
The matter also came up before Bhutan's National Assembly and foreign minister Khandu Wangchuk promised the House that the matter would soon be taken up with the Chinese authorities.
On November 13, the Chinese soldiers entered the country’s northern districts, including Paro, and marched 20 km inland, claiming that they had been forced by melting glaciers and heavy snowfall in Tibet to breach the border. But they also went on to infiltrate remote places like Haa, Boomtang and Wangdi Phudrang, which have no human habitation. The Chinese have built pucca bridges in Paro and Haa districts, prompting concern among the people’s representatives from Paro, Haa, Laya, Lunana, Zhemgang and Thimphu.
When secretary of international boundaries Dasho Pema Wangchuk took up the issue with the Chinese delegation led by deputy director-general of the Asian department in the China’s ministry of foreign affairs, China just brushed off the apprehensions.
“They told the Bhutanese that they were over-reacting and that the roads were being built as part of the economic development programmes for western China,” an Indian intelligence officer said. “India and Bhutan enjoy a special relationship, and the current developments have come as a matter of serious concern for India,” the official added.