Bhutan's 'Shangri-La' caught between two rival superpowers

With its scenic mountains and stunning Buddhist monasteries on hilltops, Bhutan is a traveller’s dream and described by some as the last Shangri-La – a mystical beautiful place where everything is perfection.

The country’s capital, Thimphu, is a refreshing delight to those who are tired of traffic and pollution in mega cities. The fresh air and the lush green mountains and snow peaks in the distance offer a visual treat.

Men, women and children calmly walk around in the country’s traditional attire. It is probably the only country in the world where there are no traffic signals – just traffic police officers giving hand signals.

But beneath the surface, this picture-postcard country has been experiencing an undercurrent of tension and nervousness since last year.

Sandwiched between two Asian giants – China in the north and India in the south – the Himalayan nation, with a population of about 800,000, was anxious when troops from the two military powers squared up to each other over their border dispute.

The flare-up was in a strategic plateau called Doklam – situated in the tri-junction between India, Bhutan and China.

The remote mountainous region of Doklam is disputed. Bhutan and China both claim the area. India supports Bhutan’s claim over it.

When China started…

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