New DElhi, April 1
King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck will begin his three-day visit to India on Monday even as Bhutan PM Lotay Tshering stressed he had said nothing new in his interview to Belgian paper ‘La Libre’ regarding Doklam and the Bhutan-China boundary talks.
The Bhutan King’s visit comes within days of an interview by his PM to the Belgian paper which received an extremely adverse reaction from the Indian media. Wangchuk will be accompanied by Bhutanese Foreign and Commerce Minister Tandi Dorji and senior officials. During the visit, the King will meet President Droupadi Murmu and PM Narendra Modi. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and senior officials will call on him.
“The visit will provide an opportunity to both sides to review the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation and to further advance the close bilateral partnership, including economic and development cooperation,’’ the MEA said. Bhutan PM Tshering on Saturday gave a fresh interview to a Bhutanese media house, saying: “I have said nothing new and there is no change in position.” The Indian media had alleged Bhutan had changed its position on Doklam and that China was being given a new role which was not in India’s interest.
In this context of the China-Bhutan boundary talks, analysts see the King’s visit as a symbolic gesture towards reinforcing mutual trust. The Bhutanese media house which interviewed Prime Minister Tshering said Indian media outlets misrepresented the interview to the Belgian newspaper and “blew it out of proportion.”
The announcement of Bhutan and China being in advanced stages of the boundary talks should not come as a surprise as Foreign Ministers of both countries had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2021 that was extensively covered by the Indian media, it argued.
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