Bhutan will not open its borders even if India lifts its lock down said the Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji. Instead, the ongoing patrolling along the borders will be even more tight and vigilant.
“If the lock down opens, we have to be more careful. We have patrolling going on and there are senior officials at the border. Desuups, Royal Bhutan Police and volunteers, officials from the dzongkhags and thromdes are also there at the borders. We will take tighter measures,” the Foreign Minister said.
The minister said that His Majesty has also been constantly visiting the border areas to strengthen the preparations there.
He said that Bhutan is preparing for the Red Zone even when the country is still in the orange zone.
He said that while Bongaigaon in Assam and Alipurduar in West Bengal are declared red zones, it does not make a difference as the government is treating the entire areas across the border as red zones.
“We have been considering the entire border as a red zone, and that’s why we have closed all the entry and exit points in the country. Hereafter also, it will remain the same and we would take extra measures to tighten around the borders,” he said.
The government has cautioned the people to abstain from moving around the borders, especially the people residing around the border areas.
“People should take responsibility and this will also count as a service towards the nation in this situation. We will only enhance measures and request people along the border to cooperate,” Lyonpo Tandi Dorji said.
Foreign Minister added that people are seen smuggling in the border areas, and this will lead to a high risk of spreading COVID-19 in the country. He said people should avoid such illegal acts during the pandemic.
According to the records maintained by the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP), there have been 140 (18 non-Bhutanese) people arrested since 3 March to 23 April. Of the 140 people arrested, 63 (includes 4 women) were arrested for smuggling drugs while 59 for smuggling tobacco products.
The arrests were made in Phuentsholing, Samtse, Samdrupjongkhar, Sarpang and Dagana. In total they have registered 88 cases in the same time frame.