India Bhutan Relationship and Why China Remains the Dragon in the Room
India and Bhutan’s relationship has been strong for many years, with India being Bhutan’s closest ally and providing aid and support in various sectors. However, China’s growing influence in the region has raised concerns for both India and Bhutan.
Recently, Bhutan has expressed its desire to establish diplomatic relations with China, which has been viewed by India as a potential threat to its own relationship with Bhutan. India has always been wary of China’s intentions towards Bhutan, as the two countries have been involved in a territorial dispute over the Doklam plateau in 2017.
Moreover, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has also raised concerns for India and Bhutan, as it aims to increase China’s influence in the region by developing infrastructure projects. The BRI includes the construction of a controversial dam on the Brahmaputra river, which originates in Tibet and flows through India and Bhutan.
India has repeatedly raised its concerns with Bhutan about the BRI and the dam, as it could have serious implications for India’s water security. India has also been working closely with Bhutan to develop its own infrastructure projects in the region, in order to counter China’s growing influence.
Despite the concerns, Bhutan has maintained its stance on establishing diplomatic relations with China, while also emphasizing the importance of its relationship with India. Bhutan has stated that it wants to pursue a policy of friendship with all its neighbors, including China.
India, on the other hand, has continued to strengthen its relationship with Bhutan, by providing aid and support in various sectors, including education, health, and infrastructure development. India has also been working closely with Bhutan to develop its tourism sector, which is a major source of revenue for Bhutan.