The Doklam standoff on the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan is well into its second month and Beijing continues with its hardline position and refuses to negotiate on equitable terms. What it aims to gain out of this crisis has been subject to much speculation in New Delhi. Most likely, it hopes to peel Bhutan away from India’s orbit. However, perhaps it should recall the last Doklam crisis between India, China and Bhutan in 1966. That imbroglio only ended up strengthening the India-Bhutan alliance.
Sino-Bhutanese relations first took a nosedive in the late 1950s, mirroring the growing tensions between India and China over their boundary dispute. From 1958, Chinese maps began showing large swathes of Bhutanese territory as part of China. In 1959, as it suppressed the Tibetan rebellion, China also took over certain Bhutanese enclaves in Tibet. At the same time, around 4,000 Tibetan refugees entered Bhutan, straining the country’s limited economy
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