Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale held talks with his Bhutanese counterpart Dasho Sonam Tshong, and also called on the PM and the Bhutanese King on Monday
New Delhi:Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale on Monday held extensive talks with top leaders and officials in Bhutan on key bilateral and regional issues during a two-day visit to the country, Gokhale’s second visit in as many months.
Besides discussions with his Bhutanese counterpart Dasho Sonam Tshong, Gokhale also called on Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay and King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck during the visit which began Sunday, the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement.
The visit comes ahead of border talks between Bhutan and China—due to be held this year. It also comes ahead of polls in Bhutan to elect a new prime minister. And it follows a 73 day long tense military standoff between India and China over the latter’s attempts to construct a road on the Dokolam plateau in Bhutan that ended on 28 August.
“The visit was in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries, and provided an opportunity to the two sides to discuss matters concerning our bilateral partnership, including the commemorative activities planned in 2018 to mark the Golden Jubilee of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries," the statement said.
“The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere in keeping with the unique and exemplary bonds of friendship and cooperation that exist between the two countries," it said.
According to a PTI report, the situation on the Dokolam plateau -- situated at the trijunction of India, China and Bhutan -- figured during talks between Gokhale and the Bhutanese Foreign Secretary.
Previously, Gokhale, accompanied by Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had quietly travelled to Bhutan in the first week of February during which they held extensive talks with Bhutanese leaders on issues including the situation in Dokolam.
India says that border disputes involving trijunctions—ie involving three countries—should be resolved taking into account the views of all three countries. This, it says, is as per an agreement reached between India and China in 2012.
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