Chinese state-controlled media calls for promoting anti-India sentiments in Bhutan, Sikkim’s ‘independence’

In the wake of stand-off between Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at India-China-Bhutan tri-junction, the Chinese state-controlled media called for a disintegration of Sikkim from the rest of India and promoting anti-India sentiments in Bhutan.

“Beijing should reconsider its stance over the Sikkim issue. Although China recognised India’s annexation of Sikkim in 2003, it can readjust its stance on the matter. There are those in Sikkim that cherish its history as a separate state, and they are sensitive to how the outside world views the Sikkim issue. As long as there are voices in Chinese society supporting Sikkim’s independence, the voices will spread and fuel pro-independence appeals in Sikkim,” a brazen editorial in state run Chinese newspaper Global Times said.

“After independence, New Delhi inherited the brutal colonial policies of Britain and pursues regional hegemony at the sacrifice of tiny Himalayan nations,” it ranted.

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In a clear attempt to incite violence in Sikkim, the editorial called on Chinese citizens to “fuel” pro-independence movement in the Indian state bordering China.

It could be noted that the opinion pages of the state run Chinese newspaper are often used by Chinese authorities to send out signals to India during standoff between the two countries.

The editorial suggested that Beijing should rally the world for the abolition of treaties that New Delhi had signed with Bhutan.

“India has startling control and oppression over Bhutan, and as a result, Bhutan has not established diplomatic ties with its neighbour China or any other permanent member of the UN Security Council. Through unequal treaties, India has severely jeopardised Bhutan’s diplomatic sovereignty and controls its national defence,” the editorial said.

“China should lead the international community in restoring Bhutan’s diplomatic and defense sovereignty. Unfair treaties between India and Bhutan that severely violate the will of the Bhutanese people should be abolished. China needs to put more efforts into establishing diplomatic ties with Bhutan at an earlier date as well,” it added.

India has often claimed that Beijing provides arms, funds and logistical supports to insurgent groups operating in the northeastern states and Global Times editorial is a validation of that very fact.

“With certain conditions, Bhutan and Sikkim will see strong anti-India movements, which will negatively affect India’s already turbulent northeast area and rewrite southern Himalayan geopolitics,” the editorial said.

Indian Army and Chinese troops are locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation at the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction after China’s attempts to forcefully build a strategic highway through the Doklam plateau, which is Bhutanese territory. The 269-sq km Doklam plateau is strategically located at the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction, the place where borders of the three countries meet.

Meanwhile, India has asked China to pull back its troops from Bhutanese territory.

“The Chinese troops should stay where they were earlier… They have entered Bhutan’s territory… they should not intrude into Bhutanese territory. This is our security concern and this is our stand,” Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said while speaking to reporters in New Delhi.

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