New Delhi: Days after the Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed that Bhutan had confirmed to them that Doklam was not a part of its territory, the government of the latter country refuted the claims, asking concerned parties – India and China – parties to refer to their past statement on the issue.
Official Bhutanese Government told news agency ANI that their position on the border standoff remains unaltered. “Our position on the border issue of Doklam is very clear. Please refer to our statement which has been published on the web site of Bhutan’s foreign ministry on June 29, 2017.”
The shocking claim was made by China a few days ago, as a senior diplomat Wang Wenli claimed that Bhutan had conveyed to Beijing – via diplomatic channels – that the area where the standoff between New Delhi and Beijing is going on was not in its territory.
The Deputy Director General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs in China’s foreign ministry had reportedly briefed Indian delegation on yesterday.However, she did not provide any proof to substantiate her claim, which was immediately rejected by Bhutan.
A couple of days ago, in a stunning but unsubstantiated-claim, a senior Chinese official said that Bhutan has acknowledged that the Doklam area where the Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a standoff does not belong to it.
China’s top diplomat on the boundary issue, Wang Wenli, told a visiting Indian media delegation that Bhutan has conveyed to Beijing through the diplomatic channels that the area of the standoff is not its territory.
Bhutan had protested to the Chinese government, accusing it of violating a bilateral pact after its troops tried to construct a road in the Doklam area on June 16.
“After the incident, the Bhutanese made it very clear to us that the place where the trespassing happened is not Bhutan’s territory,” said Wang, who is the Deputy Director General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
She went on to say that “Bhutanese find it very strange that the Indian border troops are on the Chinese soil,” and implied that her views have been gleaned from Bhutanese state media and legal blogs which have “more convincing information”.
A statement issued by India’s External Affairs Ministry on June 30 said, “On June 16, a PLA (People’s Liberation Army) construction party entered the Doklam area and attempted to construct a road. It is our understanding that a Royal Bhutan Army patrol attempted to dissuade them from this unilateral activity.”
India had also cited the Bhutanese Foreign Ministry as emphasising that “the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the 1988 and 1998 agreements between Bhutan and China and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between these two countries. They have urged a return to the status quo as before June 16, 2017.”
India also conveyed to the Chinese government that the road construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for it. India says both sides should first pull back their troops for any talks to take place.
Wang said Bhutan is observing the actions being taken by both Indian and Chinese troops from its territory. Bhutan has no direct diplomatic relations with China and maintains contacts with Beijing through its diplomatic mission in New Delhi.
Bhutan and China have held 24 rounds of talks to resolve boundary dispute while India and China have completed 19 rounds of talks.
Wang said India and Bhutan are two countries out of the 14 countries China is yet to sort out boundary disputes. China has settled boundary dispute approximately of 20,000 km with 12 countries out of the 22,000 km and is yet to settle about 2,000 km of boundary involving India and Bhutan