Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary Current Affairs - 2020

India-Bhutan open new trade route

On July 16, 2020, India and Bhutan opened a new trade route between Jaigon in West Bengal and Pasakha in Bhutan.

Highlights

The land route will help to move industrial raw materials and goods destined for Pasakha Industrial Estate. The route will help boost trade and commerce and will lead to decongestion of vehicular traffic.

Bhutan is India’s closest partner.

The China Factor

India had recently proposed to build road in Yeti territory of Bhutan which China claimed recently. The road will also help India access Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh quickly. The road will reduce distance between Guwahati and Tawang by 150 kilometres

China claims Tawang to gain absolute control over Tibet.

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

In June 2020, China tried to block funding of Sakteng wildlife sanctuary at the United Nations Development Programme-global Environment Facility Council. The sanctuary is located in eastern Bhutan. According to China, the sanctuary was part of disputed territory.

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.