Land of the Thunder Dragon

Oftentimes, we are hearing and learning about events in the news that really grab the headlines. An important area that you don’t normally hear much about in the news is the Land of the Thunder Dragon, which is the country of Bhutan. The country of Bhutan is currently at the center of a major dispute, and has involved the countries of China and India. With the conflict happening between these powerful countries, there is a great possibility that this could boil over into a full-blown war.  

In this episode of Intel Insights, we are going to focus on the Land of the Thunder Dragon, and how all of the countries along the Himalayan Ridge are actually playing a part in global politics. We’ll discuss more about the strategic location of Bhutan, three important things the Chinese have claimed, a crucial area known as the Doklam Plateau, the history of war between China and India over border issues, and more.

China continues to use maps to assert its claims, and has physically moved into Bhutanese land. If the Chinese continue to encroach from the north and chip off key territory little by little, the strategic balance in the Indian Ocean would be changed. This would not only draw India and Bangladesh into fighting, but also the United States. While this area is in a desolate place that few people have visited, it’s also one we need to pay attention to. The Land of the Thunder Dragon has a great deal of strategic importance – not only could the balance of power in Asia be upset, but ultimately, the balance of power in the world.

Interesting Fact: 

The Doklam Plateau is a unique area contested between China, Bhutan, and India (the western part of what is currently considered to be Bhutanese territory). The Doklam Plateau is quite important because it would allow the Chinese to have a strategic look into India, giving them the ability to cut the corridor between central and northeastern India.

Episode Timestamps:
  • Introduction to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon {0:43}
  • The strategic location of Bhutan and what could happen if China took control of this area {2:06}
  • The McMahon Line {5:49}
  • 3 important things the Chinese claim {6:57}
  • The Doklam Plateau and the dispute as to where Tibet, Bhutan, and India actually meet in their tripoint {9:00}
  • The key areas of the Chumbi Valley, Gipmochi mountain, and Batang La mountain {12:02}
  • The history of China and India going to war over border issues, and how Bhutan is being affected {15:06}
  • How China is using maps to assert its claims and physically move into Bhutanese land {18:09}

“A lot of this activity that is centered on Bhutan really worries the Bhutanese government. Bhutan is actually a constitutional monarchy that is rapidly developing a modernization program, and it has also developed a semi-democratic process. They have free and fair elections that have been observed by international organizations and follow all of the guidelines set forth by these organizations. Due to the Chinese activities, the Bhutanese have actually complained that the treaty that they made with the People’s Republic of China back in 1998 is being violated by the Chinese.”

Connect with Cedric: