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Bhutan-China Boundary Talks: Striving for an Imminent Deal

Bhutan-China Boundary Talks: Striving for an Imminent Deal

Bhutan-China Boundary Talks
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets his Bhutanese counterpart Tandi Dorji in Beijing on October 23, 2023. Photo: fmprc.gov.cn/

Progress and Diplomatic Dialogue Amidst Prolonged Discussions

In their 25th round of boundary talks, Bhutan and China have demonstrated a mutual eagerness to expeditiously finalize a boundary agreement that has remained pending since 2016. A key point of significance is Bhutanese Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji’s recent visit to Beijing, signifying potential headway in the deliberations between the two nations.

Collaboration Agreement and Key Discussions

During the talks, a “Cooperation Agreement” was signed between the countries, emphasizing the formation of a Joint Technical Team (JTT) responsible for delimiting and demarcating the Bhutan-China boundary. The Bhutanese delegation, including Foreign Secretary Pema Choden, met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong to solidify this pact, outlining the groundwork for future discussions.

Chinese Push for Closer Ties

Of notable importance is China’s push for the establishment of full-fledged diplomatic relations with Bhutan, which Bhutan has been cautious about given its strategic non-alliance stance. The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, stressed the potential benefits of formal diplomatic ties, underscoring the long-term interests of both nations.

Security Concerns and Delicate Geopolitical Balancing

India, while closely observing the talks, has refrained from issuing direct comments on the recent diplomatic engagements. Geopolitically, any potential territorial adjustments between Bhutan and China near the Doklam trijunction remain a sensitive matter, considering the proximity to India’s crucial “Siliguri corridor.”

Emphasizing Strategic Caution and Trilateral Dialogue

Bhutan’s leadership has reassured that any agreement will not compromise India’s security interests. Clarifications have been made that discussions regarding the trijunction at Doklam will solely involve India, Bhutan, and China. Maintaining a delicate balance while fostering diplomatic engagement remains crucial for all parties involved.

Continued Efforts for a Comprehensive Solution

The collaborative efforts and commitment displayed by both Bhutan and China in reaching an amicable resolution is indicative of their dedication to finding a constructive way forward. A careful balancing act is necessary to ensure a sustainable and equitable solution that respects the interests of all stakeholders.

Source: The Hindu

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