Memorandum of Understanding between China and Bhutan for border talks. India takes note | India news

NEW DELHI: Bhutan and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday for what it called a “three-step roadmap” to expedite the Bhutan-China border negotiations which, according to Thimphu, would provide new momentum to the talks and could bring the negotiations to a successful and acceptable conclusion. on both sides. The MoU comes at a time when India’s talks with China to resolve the military crisis in East Ladakh remain inconclusive.
Like India, Bhutan is still stuck in a border dispute with China, and while the two have held 24 rounds of border talks since 1984, the last time they had such border negotiations was in 2016, or before the Doklam dispute involving India in 2017.
India closely follows all border clashes between Bhutan and China as Chinese claims to the disputed territories have serious security implications for New Delhi. Middle East Airlines was very cautious in responding to the development as it said the government had noted the signing of the agreement.
“We have noted the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Bhutan and China. Middle East and Africa spokesperson Arindam Bagshi said, when asked whether or not Bhutan has kept India on the MOU.
For many, by past behaviour, it is inconceivable that Bhutan would not discuss a memorandum of understanding on the border issue without at least explaining the outlines to the Indian authorities. Bhutan has not yet accepted the 1996 Chinese ‘package deal’ which offered to exchange land in central Bhutan for Doklam, located perilously close to India’s Siliguri Pass. China repeated the offer of land exchange this past year.
The Doklam confrontation in 2017 further complicated the border issue as India saw the PLA’s construction of a road in Doklam district as a violation of the 2012 bilateral agreement which stipulates the completion of the tripartite border points between India, China and third countries in consultation with the concerned parties. Countries.
China settled the border with Russia with a formal agreement in 2008 and has reached agreements in some other cases, but it remains embroiled in maritime disputes with Japan and several ASEAN countries.
The text of the memorandum of understanding, which was signed during a virtual ceremony, has not been announced. In its announcement, Bhutan said that during the 10th expert group meeting with China in April this year, the two sides agreed on a roadmap that would apparently build on the 1988 guidelines for border settlement and speeding up negotiations. At the time, the media reported that Bhutan and China had discussed a three-step roadmap.
A month later, there were reports that Bhutan had reservations about the roadmap, one of which related to China’s claim over the Saketeng Wildlife Sanctuary in eastern Bhutan (near the Arunachal border), and that Bhutan had proposed some modifications. It is not yet clear to what extent China has taken these changes into account. Bhutan said that the roadmap will provide new impetus to the border talks and that it expects that the implementation of this roadmap ‘in the spirit of goodwill, understanding and compromise’ will bring the border negotiations to a successful and mutually acceptable conclusion. .


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