It’s a particularly busy time to be a foreign policy expert now, especially in Asia. Even as tensions between India and China continue over the standoff and clash in Ladakh, Beijing has begun another border dispute — with Bhutan.
China reportedly objected to a grant request for Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan’s Trashigang district at a meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Beijing, according to Strat News Global, claiming that the sanctuary was located in a disputed area between Bhutan and China.
The GEF Council dismissed China’s objections.
On China’s insistence that the footnote mention its objection, the Strat News Global report quoted the GEF Secretariat as saying that the footnote would only record the fact that China objected and the reasons could come in the highlights of the discussion. The highlights are a less formal record.
Thimphu, according to India Today, sent a strong note to the representative handling Bhutan, which said, “Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is an integral and sovereign territory of Bhutan.” While rejecting China’s claims, Bhutan also said that this area did not ever come up during boundary talks between the two countries.
Bhutan did not have its own representative and was instead represented by Indian IAS officer Aparna Subramani from the World Bank, the report added. Thimphu also urged the GEF council to remove all references to China’s claims from its documents.
Trashigang district is in Eastern Bhutan, across the border from West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh.
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As Bhutan has claimed, this is the first time...