New satellite images tweeted out by a leading satellite imagery expert on Chinese military development, shows purported construction of Chinese villages in Bhutanese territory over the last year. Multiple new villages are seen spreading through an area roughly 100 square km. The disputed land lies near the Doklam plateau where India and China had a faceoff in 2017, after which China bypassed Indian defences to resume road construction activity in the region, the original point of contention between New Delhi and Beijing.
The new construction on Bhutanese soil is particularly worrying for India since India has historically advised Bhutan on its External Relations policy and continues to train its armed forces. Bhutan has faced constant Chinese pressure to renegotiate its land boundaries — the contours of this agreement have never been entirely spelled out and it remains to be seen if the construction of these new villages on its soil is a part of this agreement.
The tweet by @detresfa — a global researcher with The Intel Lab, which features deep analysis by geopolitical intelligence experts — read:
Disputed land between #Bhutan & #China near Doklam shows construction activity between 2020-21, multiple new villages spread through an area roughly 100 km² now dot the landscape, is this part of a new agreement or enforcement of #China‘s territorial claims ? pic.twitter.com/9m1n5zCAt4
— d-atis☠️ (@detresfa_) November 17, 2021
The villages were constructed between May 2020 and November 2021.
Last year, NDTV had reported by China was constructing a village close to the Doklam plateau, where the Chinese and Indian militaries had a tense standoff in 2017.
Images posted by a senior journalist with the Chinese state media showed that the village was 2 km within Bhutan’s territory, very close to Doklam.