Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said Bhutan and India have enjoyed the closest of relations since 1949 but the unshakeable relationship is now facing a challenge from an aggressive China
Chinese (foreground) and Indian soldiers (R, background) during an incident where troops from both countries clashed in the Line of Actual Control in the Galwan Valley, in the Himalayas. (AFP file photo)
The Congress on Thursday said the Bhutanese prime minister's reported statement on finding a solution to the Doklam dispute raises several concerns, and asked when will the Modi government respond to China's renewed geographical and military aggression.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said Bhutan and India have enjoyed the closest of relations since 1949 but the unshakeable relationship is now facing a challenge from an aggressive China.
The Congress leader's remarks come in the backdrop of Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering reportedly saying that it is not up to Bhutan alone to solve the Doklam dispute and that all three countries of Bhutan, India and China are equal stakeholders.
There has been a dispute over the Doklam trijunction between the three countries with the Chinese creating infrastructure around it. Indian and Chinese troops clashed at Doklam in 2017 and it had been an issue of political slugfest between the Congress and the ruling BJP.
In a statement, Ramesh said the Narendra Modi government presented the 2017 Doklam standoff as a major victory.
Yet, since then, the Chinese have engaged in an unprecedented military infrastructure buildup in the area, the Congress leader claimed. "They have also built villages and roads adjacent to the Doklam plateau many kilometres inside Bhutanese territory," he said.
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"When will the Modi government respond to China's renewed verbal, geographical and military aggression?" Ramesh asked and added that "we urge the prime minister to not hide behind smokescreens and ensure that this very long-standing partnership with Bhutan remains strong and further deepened".
The Congress leader recalled that in September 1958, Jawaharlal Nehru had made the first state visit by an Indian prime minister to Bhutan. He trekked for almost 105 km for 10 days to Bhutan at altitudes of 15,000 feet with a dozen yaks, several ponies and a pack of over a hundred animals even at the age of 69 years, Ramesh said.
Since then, Bhutan and India have enjoyed an excellent bilateral relationship that has benefitted both countries, he said.
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