India, China eye strategic areas bordering ‘last barrier’ Bhutan

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India, China eye strategic areas bordering 'last barrier' Bhutan

Bhutan is a landlocked mountain country that has been cut off from the rest of the world for a long time by the icy Himalayan peaks.

But analysts warn that China and India are keeping a close eye on the election because they want to control key border areas. Bhutan is getting ready to elect a new parliament in Thimphu on January 9.

India was worried about the “cooperation agreement” that Bhutan and China signed in October after talks about their disputed northern border. India has long seen Bhutan as a buffer state close to it.

Professor of international affairs at King’s College London Harsh V. Pant told AFP that Bhutan is “one of the last barriers” in the way of China’s attempts to gain power in South Asia.

India is determined not to let China expand its power further into what New Delhi sees as its natural sphere of influence. This is because Beijing has made a lot of tough trade deals and loans with countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and the Maldives.

There are no official political ties between Thimphu and Beijing.

India, on the other hand, pretty much ran Bhutan’s foreign policy until 2007.

In a report released in December, Britain’s Chatham House think tank said that the relationship was “in exchange for free trade and security arrangements.”

The story included pictures from space that it said showed China building settlements without permission in Bhutan’s northern border area. This area could “become permanent Chinese territory” until a border deal is reached.

AFP was told by China’s foreign ministry that the country was “determined to strive for an early resolution of the boundary issue and the establishment of diplomatic relations.”

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