Foreign Secretary Kwatra Meets New Bhutanese Prime Minister; Discusses Ways to Boost Bilateral Ties


Last Updated: January 29, 2024, 23:11 IST

New Delhi has been keeping a close eye on the negotiations between Bhutan and China on their boundary row (Image: PTI/File)

New Delhi has been keeping a close eye on the negotiations between Bhutan and China on their boundary row (Image: PTI/File)

Kwatra arrived earlier here on a three-day trip, in the first high-level visit from India after the formation of a new government under People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tobgay.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra on Monday called on Bhutan’s new Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and discussed areas of mutual interest and multifaceted cooperation to further boost India’s relations with the Himalayan nation. Kwatra arrived earlier here on a three-day trip, in the first high-level visit from India after the formation of a new government under People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tobgay.

Kwatra called on Prime Minister Tobgay at the Prime Minister’s Office in Gyalyong Tshogkhang.

The meeting discussed various areas of mutual interest and cooperation between Bhutan and India, according to The Bhutanese newspaper.

The Prime Minister also hosted a dinner for the Foreign Secretary and his delegation at his residence, it said in a post on X.

Kwatra also held bilateral consultations with Foreign Secretary of Bhutan Aum Pema Choden.

A wide ranging discussion on multifaceted cooperation between India and Bhutan in development partnership, space, energy, trade, technology, economic ties, and people-to-people ties, the Indian embassy here posted on X.

Kwatra’s visit comes against the backdrop of China and Bhutan looking at an expeditious resolution of their festering boundary row that could have implications for India’s security interests.

“Foreign Secretary @AmbVMKwatra was warmly welcomed on his arrival at Paro by Aum Pema Choden, Foreign Secretary of Bhutan for an official visit from 29-31 January,” the Indian embassy tweeted earlier.

“The visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between India and Bhutan, and will provide an opportunity to the two sides to review entire gamut of bilateral ties,” it said.

During the visit, Kwatra will receive an audience with His Majesty The King. He will also call on the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and meet with Foreign Secretary of Bhutan and other senior officials of the Royal Government, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. Tobgay assumed charge as the prime minister of Bhutan on Sunday following the PDP’s victory in the elections earlier this month.

Close to three months back, Bhutan’s then Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji held talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing.

A Chinese readout on the talks said Bhutan firmly abides by the one-China principle and stands ready to work with China for an early settlement of the boundary issue and advance the political process of establishing diplomatic relations.

New Delhi has been keeping a close eye on the negotiations between Bhutan and China on their boundary row as it could have implications for New Delhi’s security interests, especially in the Doklam tri-junction.

Meanwhile, the Indian Ambassador here on Monday greeted Bhutan’s newly sworn-in Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister and said he looks forward to working together to further deepen the exemplary India-Bhutan ties across sectors.

The meetings between Ambassador Sudhakar Dalela and the Bhutanese elected leaders came a day after Tshering Tobgay took oath as the Prime Minister and Lyonpo D N Dhungyel as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade. Ambassador @SudhakarDalela paid a courtesy call on Hon’ble Lyonchhen @tsheringtobgay and conveyed greetings of India’s leadership on his assumption of responsibility as the Prime Minister. Committed to working closely to further strengthen Bhutan-India unique ties of friendship, the Indian mission in Bhutan posted on X along with the photo of the meeting.

Amb @SudhakarDalela paid a courtesy call on Lyonpo D N Dhungyel and conveyed greetings on EAM’s behalf on his assumption of responsibility as Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade. We look forward to working together to further deepen exemplary Bhutan-India ties across sectors, the Mission posted on X with a photo of the meeting. Both Tobgay and Dhungyel belong to the People’s Democratic Party which won 30 of the 47 seats in the National Assembly in Bhutan’s parliamentary elections held on January 9.

The Bhutan Tendrel Party had secured 17 in the country’s fourth general elections since its transformation from a traditional monarchy to a parliamentary form of government in 2008.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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