India proposes road through Sakteng sanctuary to Bhutan, Indian step following Chinese claim on the area

New Delhi: – China staked a claim on the Sakteng sanctuary in Bhutan while the Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a standoff at Ladakh. This is one more Chinese attempt to open a new front against India, since the Saktend sanctuary lies adjacent to the Arunachal Pradesh border. Reports have been received that against this very background, India has proposed to construct a road through the Sakteng sanctuary, in Bhutan. This road will facilitate expeditious military movements in the region near the Chinese border, east of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh.

Last month China claimed that Sakteng sanctuary was Chinese territory. Sakteng sanctuary also has cultural importance for Bhutan. There is a border dispute between China and Bhutan over other territories and negotiations are going on between the two countries since 1984. But in so many years China has never claimed rights over the Sakteng sanctuary. Analysts are looking at this fresh claim by China as a part of Chinese anti-India strategy.

China has been claiming rights over the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The claim on the Sakteng sanctuary is the extension of the Chinese claim on Arunachal Pradesh. As per analysts, through this, China is making preparations for a new front against India. Although Bhutan has warned China that Saktang Sanctuary is its sovereign territory, in clear words, India is aware that expansionist China will devise a new ploy in the future.

Against this background, India has proposed a road reducing the distance between Guwahati in Assam and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and passing through the Sakteng Sanctuary in Bhutan. The road will be connected to Loomla near Tawang and Trashigang in Bhutan. This will be a Tawanda-Trashigang-Guwahati, which will reduce the Guwahati-Tawang distance by 150 Kilometres. Therefore, if China makes any military moves, India will be able to deploy the military quickly, not only in Tawang but also in eastern Bhutan. Therefore, this proposal is beneficial even for Bhutan.

Meanwhile, China attempted constructing roads, intruding into the Doklam region, in 2017 and India foiled the Chinese attempt. India handles the foreign policy and defence for Bhutan. China has an objection to this arrangement. China is disturbed that given this, it cannot influence a country like Bhutan. This the reason why China targeted India saying that no third country needs to interfere while claiming its right over the Sakteng sanctuary.

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