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Saturday , August 12 , 2017
 
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Curious case of Bhutan website

New Delhi, Aug. 11: The website of Bhutan's embassy here was inaccessible from India but available from the Himalayan nation for two days this week, prompting a swirl of speculation and conspiracy theories pointing to the unease in a relationship New Delhi has traditionally taken for granted.

Access to the mission's website - http://www.mfa.gov.bt/rbedelhi - in India was restored today. Bhutanese officials did not comment on the "blocked" access or its restoration, and Indian officials indicated they had not received any formal complaint from the embassy.

But the incident, coming amid a seven week-long standoff between Indian and Chinese troops on a plateau Beijing and Thimphu claim, sparked a wave of unconfirmed - and in some cases illogical - suspicions that highlighted the challenges New Delhi faces.

The speculation ranged from the stirrings of worries of a "foreign" - code for Chinese - cyber attack on the mission's website from Indian analysts, to suggestions from Bhutanese observers that India may have blocked the portal as a signal to Thimphu.

Some suggested that independent hackers may have used the focus on Bhutan to test their skills on the embassy's website - and pulled out after their work was noticed.

The Bhutanese embassy's website has stayed threadbare through the current tensions in Doklam, which Bhutan and China claim, and where Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a standoff since mid-June.

Bhutanese observers, who could access the website when it wasn't available in India, confirmed to this newspaper that the mission had not posted anything related to the tensions on its portal in the period when viewers in India were unable to access it.

Neither India nor China would find anything on the Bhutan embassy's website problematic, a puzzled diplomat said, after scouring the portal today at this newspaper's request.

But the speculation points to the heightened tensions between India and China, and concerns in Bhutan over the implications for that country from any further escalation.


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