Bhutan Current Affairs - 2020

Sri Lanka and Maldives becomes the First Two Countries from South-East Asia Region of WHO to Eliminate Both Rubella and Measles

Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) has announced on 8th July 2020 that Sri Lanka and the Maldives have eliminated Rubella Virus. With this, Sri Lanka and the Maldives became the first two countries from the South East Asia Region of WHO to have successfully eliminated both the Measles and Rubella Virus.

Measles Virus Eliminated by 5 Countries from the Region

In 2017-18, Bhutan, Timor-Leste, North Korea and the Maldives were the four countries from the South-East Asia Region of the WHO to successfully eliminate Measles Virus. In July 2019, Sri Lanka became the third nation from the South-East Asia Region of WHO to eliminate Measles.

The target year set by the WHO for eliminating Measles from the South-East Asia Region is 2023 (earlier was 2020, Revised in September 2019 to 2023).

Rubella Virus Eliminated by 2 Countries from the Region

Sri Lanka and Maldives the first two countries from the South-East Asia Region of the WHO to achieve the target.

The target year set by the WHO for eliminating Rubella Virus from the South-East Asia Region is 2023.

WHO South-East Asia Region

There are a total of 11 countries in the WHO’s South-East Asia Region. They are India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Maldives, Myanmar, North Korea, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, and Nepal.

Bhutan: Boundary with China hasn’t been Demarcated, under Negotiation with China

The Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China had claimed last week that their boundary with Bhutan has never been delimited and there are long-standing disputes between the two countries in eastern, central and western sections.

The Royal Bhutanese Embassy in India has clarified China’s claim on 7th July 2020 that the boundary talks between Bhutan and China is under negotiation and hasn’t been demarcated yet. Further Bhutanese Embassy has also stated that 24 rounds of ministerial-level talks have been conducted to date for demarcating the boundary between the two countries, the 25th round of talks was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Background

On June 2nd, 2020, during the 58th meeting of the U.N. Development Programme’s Global Environment Facility (GEF), China objected to the funding for the development of Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary by claiming the area to a disputed region between Bhutan and China. Bhutan denied the claims of China by stating the Wildlife Sanctuary is an integral and sovereign territory of Bhutan.

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary comes under Trashigang Dzongkhag district in Eastern Bhutan. The Trashigang Dzongkhag district is the bordering district of Bhutan with India’ Arunachal Pradesh.

China’s Claim in Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is to pressurize India

Between 1984 to 2016, in a total of 24 boundary talks between Bhutan and China, there are no records of talks regarding the Trashigang Dzongkhag district or the Eastern part of Bhutan as a disputed area, neither China had claimed the any of the Eastern regions of Bhutan in the past at any international forum or during its talks with Bhutan.

China does not have a boundary with the Trashigang Dzongkhag District of Bhutan, its sudden claim in an international forum is clearly meant to target India.