Bhutanese foreign minister set to hold talks with Sushma Swaraj

SansadTV Bureau
File picture of Bhutanese Foreign Minister Lyonpo Damcho Dorji

File picture of Bhutanese Foreign Minister Lyonpo Damcho Dorji

Bhutanese Foreign Minister Lyonpo Damcho Dorji arrived in Tuesday on a three-day visit during which both sides are likely to discuss a broad range of issues, including ways to deepen defence and security cooperation.

Dorji’s visit comes two weeks after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval travelled to Bhutan and discussed a number of strategic issues, including the situation in Doklam.

The Bhutanese foreign minister will hold extensive talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, besides meeting a number of other leaders, official sources said. They said all major bilateral issues will be discussed during Dorji’s visit, including implementation of India-assisted development projects in the country, said sources.

Earlier this month, Rawat, Doval and Gokhale had quietly travelled to the neighbouring country during which they held extensive talks with the top brass of the Bhutanese government on the situation in Doklam, authoritative government sources had told PTI.

The sources said the two sides had deliberated on China’s increasing military posturing and infrastructure development in the key Doklam plateau. The visit took place between February 6 and 7.
The visit was the first such high-level trip from India to Bhutan after the Doklam standoff and it was kept under wraps by the Bhutanese and Indian sides.

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam from June 16 last year after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed tri-junction by the Chinese Army. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam. The face-off ended on August 28.

As a close friend and neighbour, Bhutan enjoys diplomatic and military support from India. China and Bhutan are engaged in talks over the resolution of the dispute in the area. Army sources said China has been keeping its troops in north Doklam and significantly ramping up its infrastructure in the area. In November last, the King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, had visited India.

(With inputs from PTI)