India’s foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale held extensive talks with the leadership of Bhutanese government on importantbilateral and regional issues during his two-day visit to Bhutan, India’s ministry of external affairs (MEA) said on Monday.
The visit comes in the wake of India and China recalibrating the ties and the Himalayan kingdom and Beijing planning to hold another round of boundary talks later this year.
Besides meeting his Bhutanese counterpart Dasho Sonam Tshong, Gokhale also called upon Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay and King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck during his visit, which ended Monday, the MEA 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,” the release said.
Without elaborating, the ministry said matters “concerning” bilateral partnership figured in the talks. In the first week of February, Gokhale, army chief general Bipin Rawat and national security adviser Ajit Doval had travelled to Bhutan and held extensive talks with the leaders there on strategic issues, including the situation in Doklam.
The armies of India and China were locked in a 73-day standoff in Doklam from June 16 last year and ended on August 28 after the Indian side objected to the construction of a road in the disputed India, China, Bhutan tri-junction in Doklam by the Chinese army. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam.
“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 foreign ministry said on Gokhale’s latest visit.