New Delhi: Amid reports that Bhutan has ‘blocked’ water supply for Indian farmers in the border districts of Assam, the government of Bhutan issued a clarification on Friday, calling the reports to this effect ‘totally baseless’ and alleging that ‘deliberate attempts are being made by vested interests to cause misunderstanding between friendly people of Bhutan and Assam’. Also Read - Border Trade With Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar Continues Despite Ban on Movement

In its statement, among various other clarifications, the Bhutanese government also urged the farmers of Assam to understand that there could be some delay in water supply due to disruptions caused by heavy monsoon rains, as well as COVID-19 restrictions put in by both the countries.

Earlier, the government sources too had said that reports of Bhutan blocking supply of channel water to Assam ‘are not true’.

Clarifying the situation, Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna, too, had tweeted: “Recent media reports about Bhutan blocking water supply to India has been incorrectly reported. The actual reason being the natural blockage of informal irrigation channels into Indian fields! Bhutan has been actually helping to clear the blockage.”

Bhutanese Finance Minister Tshering Namgyel had posted the following on Facebook, under the title ‘NEIGHBOURHOOD FIRST. BHUTAN INDIA FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION’, explaining the entire situation.

NEIGHBOURHOOD FIRST. BHUTAN INDIA FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic preventive guidelines and…

Tshering Namgyel यांनी वर पोस्ट केले मंगळवार, २३ जून, २०२०

Notably, the ‘blockade’ had triggered protests by the local farmers as, according to reports, they have been dependent on this ‘blocked’ supply to carry water to a their paddy fields on the Indian side of the border districts, since 1950s.

This latest development, which comes at a time India is witnessing strains in ties with almost all its neighbours, including even Nepal, had led many to label the Narendra Modi government’s foreign policy a ‘failure’.