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Bhutan and China make progress in border talks

China and Bhutan are working towards resolving their longstanding border disputes. Bhutan’s foreign minister visited Beijing for talks with his Chinese counterpart, indicating progress in the negotiation process.

Historical Dispute

  • China has disputes with only two of its 14 neighboring countries – India and Bhutan.
  • Bhutan and China have ongoing border disputes since the 1980s, specifically in areas like Jakarlung, Pasamlung, and Doklam.

Bhutan’s Stand

  • Bhutan, despite being a smaller nation, firmly adheres to the principle of equality in international relations.
  • Bhutan follows the ‘one-China’ policy and is keen on settling border issues to advance diplomatic relations with China.

India’s Concerns

  • Doklam Region: Doklam is a point where the borders of India, China, and Bhutan meet.
  • Security Significance: For India, Doklam holds strategic importance as it connects the Indian mainland to the Northeast. Any Chinese control over Doklam could threaten India’s Siliguri Corridor, a narrow stretch vital for India’s connectivity.

Bhutan’s Strategy

  • Tri-junction Discussion: Bhutan maintains that discussions about tri-junction points (involving India, China, and Bhutan) can only happen after India and China resolve their border issues.
  • Wait-and-See Approach: Bhutan is observing how India and China settle their disputes before initiating comprehensive talks regarding tri-junction points.

India’s Role

  • Supportive Role: India has historically supported Bhutan in these border negotiations.
  • Regional Implications: India closely watches these developments due to the potential security threats arising from any change in the border status between China and Bhutan.

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