Bhutan king’s India visit reaffirms ties, sends signal to China

The well-timed visit of Bhutan king—within two months of the Doklam standoff resolution—is significant for India’s geopolitics.

The visit is expected to strengthen strategic nature of the partnership with King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck scheduled to meet the top Indian leadership, including President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice president M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will host a dinner for the royal couple on Wednesday.

This aspect of the ties was underlined when Indian troops stepped in June to not only challenge the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) efforts to alter status quo at the trijunction in Doklam but also boost Bhutan army’s efforts to resist aggressive approach by common neighbour China.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and finance minister Arun Jaitley will also hold separate meetings with the visiting dignitary in a show of courtesy that is extended only to close partners.

The government emphasised the special nature of India-Bhutan ties when Swaraj was at the airport to receive the royal couple.

While Bhutan needs to reaffirm special security ties with India, Delhi on its part needs to strengthen establishment in Thimphu amid China’s attempt to expand its sphere of influence.

The Indo-Bhutan special security partnership was underlined on Wednesday by President Ram Nath Kovind when he met the visiting King as he conveyed deep appreciation for the King of Bhutan’s personal involvement and guidance and the support provided by Bhutan in addressing the recent situation in the Dokalam area.

By: ET

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