On Friday, as journalists working for Chinese state-run media claimed that China has established a village 2 km within Bhutan’s territory that is close to strategically important Doklam, Bhutan’s ambassador to India has refuted the claims, as per news agency ANI. A journalist working with Chinese state-run media posted images of the purported village in Bhutan on his Twitter handle on Thursday, but suspiciously deleted them later. However, screenshots of the same went viral raising speculations about the claim made.
However, as the news was carried by several Indian media houses, news agency ANI quoted Bhutan’s Ambassador to India, and said, “there is no Chinese village inside Bhutan”. It is important to note that Bhutan doesn’t have an embassy in China and diplomatic communication between both countries happens through their missions in New Delhi.
There is no Chinese village inside Bhutan: Bhutan Ambassador to India, to ANI on a report that China has set up a village inside Bhutan, 9 kilometers from Doklam face-off site — ANI (@ANI) November 20, 2020
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China makes a new claim on Bhutanese territory
Earlier, at the 58th Global Environment Facility Council, a Chinese member raised objections to the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary project and argued that it was in a “disputed area” between Beijing and Thimphu. Sakteng lies in a zone of Bhutan that borders Arunachal Pradesh and not China. Bhutan had urged the GEF to purge all references to China’s baseless claims from the council’s documents. The GEF also rejected the Chinese claim and approved the project for funding.
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MEA rubbished other claims regarding situation along LAC
Earlier on Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs rubbished the news reports which alleged that the Chinese Army used ‘microwave weapons’ against Indian soldiers. Addressing a press briefing, MEA official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava termed the reports as “completely baseless”. On November 17, a UK daily claimed that Indian soldiers had retreated from two critical hilltops on the south of the Pangong Tso lake as a result of the microwave weapons.
However, this was solely based on the claim by Jin Canrong, a professor of international relations at the Beijing-based Renmin University. As per the report, microwave weapons are equipped with “high-frequency electromagnetic pulses” to cause irritation and pain. The professor was quoted as saying that the PLA retook its lost territory without an exchange of fire as the Indian soldiers reportedly escaped after beginning to vomit within 15 minutes of the microwave weapons’ use. It is pertinent to note that the Indian Army had also clarified that no such incident took place.
The faceoff at the Line of Actual Control was exacerbated when 20 Indian Army soldiers including a Commanding Officer were martyred in the Galwan Valley on June 15 when the de-escalation process was underway. This was followed by multiple attempts of provocation by the Chinese side at the end of August. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also held meetings with their respective counterparts on the Chinese side.
Fact Check: Did Chinese Army use ‘microwave weapons’ against Indian soldiers at LAC?