Bhutan today said it has issued a demarche to China over the construction of a road towards its Army camp in Zomplri area of Doklam and asked Beijing to restore status quo by stopping the work immediately. The demarche by Bhutan comes amidst the ongoing face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the Doklam (also known as Donglang) area of the Sikkim sector. “We have issued a demarche to China through its diplomatic mission here. Recently, the Chinese army (People’s Liberation Army) started construction of a road towards Bhutanese Army camp at Zomphlri in Doklam area which is in violation of an agreement between the two countries,” Ambassador of Bhutan to India Vetsop Namgyel told PTI.
“Doklam is a disputed territory and Bhutan has a written agreement with China that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, peace and tranquillity should be maintained in the area,” said Namgyel. The Bhutanese envoy also asserted that under the agreement, both Bhutan and China should refrain from unilaterally changing the status quo. “We have asked China to stop the road construction,” he said. Meanwhile, China today virtually accused India of having a “hidden agenda” in the current military stand-off with it in the Sikkim sector where Beijing has a territorial dispute with Bhutan. Taking a dig at India, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that Bhutan is a universally recognised sovereign country.
Lu also hinted that India was objecting to China’s efforts to build the road in Donglang area of the Sikkim sector on behalf of Bhutan which does not have diplomatic ties with Beijing. “Hope countries can respect the sovereignty of the country. The China-Bhutan boundary is not delineated, no third party should interfere in this matter and make irresponsible remarks or actions,” he said. China had yesterday lodged a protest with India over the alleged “crossing of boundary” by its troops in the Sikkim section and demanded their immediate withdrawal. It had also linked future visits of pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar to India “withdrawing the troops” from the area.