The two-month border standoff with India and Bhutan, is taking a new turn as China is offering its neighbor $10 billion in aid. With this massive aid China hopes to woo Bhutan in its favor.
The effect of this aid seems to be immediate, since the offer Bhutan has soften its stance on the allegations that China is violating its territorial claims.
The diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan who is a long-time security ally is going to take a complicated curve, if the Chinese aid program is well received by Bhutan. The entire Doklam standoff took a toll in the India-China relations and both the countries have accused each other of violating the border.
The role of Bhutan is very important in the Doklam as both the powers require validity for their claims in the disputed area. The aid program by the Chinese is aimed with an agenda to withdraw Bhutan’s claim to the disputed area. This will make the presence of Indian troops irrelevant in the region, which would then be violating Chinese Territory.
Immediately after the news got out, the Bhutanese government official has issued a denial. New Delhi is yet to react on this matter. Nikkei News reports that the $10 Billion aid program includes a grant, low interest loans and direct investments.
The new developments are certainly going to have drastic effects on both Diplomatic and Military dynamics between India and Bhutan. How New Delhi is going to counter the new Chinese strategy is to be watched closely. It will be interesting to see how Bhutan maneuvers through the complex situation it is involved in.