China-Bhutan holds first meeting on ‘delimitation’ of disputed boundary
China and Bhutan held the first meeting of the newly set-up joint technical team on the delimitation of their disputed boundary.
China and Bhutan held the first meeting of the newly set-up joint technical team on the delimitation of their disputed boundary, as officials from both sides met for four days in Beijing, China and agreed to speed up a boundary resolution.
Bhutan-China Border Dispute
China claims certain territories from Bhutan:
In the north: Pasamlung and Jakarlung valleys; Both of these places are culturally vital for Bhutan.
In the west: Doklam, Dramana, and Shakhatoe, Yak Chu and Charithang Chu, and Sinchulungpa and Langmarpo valleys. These places are pasture-rich and strategically located in the Bhutan-India-China trijunction, lying close to India’s Siliguri Corridor.
In 2020, China made new claims on Bhutan’s East in the Sakteng sanctuary.
History of boundary talks between China and Bhutan
The boundary talks between Bhutan and China began in 1984, and the 24th round was held in 2016.
The talks have largely focused on disputed areas to Bhutan’s north, and to its west, abutting the Doklam plateau. However, these have been stalled since 2016, especially after the 2017 Doklam stand-off.
In 2021, Bhutan and China signed an MoU on the Three-Step Roadmap for Expediting the China-Bhutan Boundary Negotiations.
What has happened now?
China and Bhutan have agreed to expedite and take simultaneous steps to implement the Three-Step Road Map” signed in 2021.
The two sides also agreed to hold the 14th Expert Group Meeting on the China-Bhutan Boundary Issues as soon as possible and maintain communication on holding the 25th Round of the China-Bhutan Boundary Talk.
Impact on India
- Experts in India have said any deal between Beijing and Thimphu that accedes to a “swap arrangement” between areas to the North (Jamparlung and Pasamlung valleys) with Doklam to the West would be of concern to India, given the proximity to India’s narrow “Siliguri corridor” that connects northeastern States with the rest of India.
- India and China were involved in a stand-off in Doklam near the India-China-Bhutan trijunction in 2017.
- In March, the Bhutanese Prime Minister said in an interview that the process of “demarcating territories” and “drawing a line” could be completed “after one or two more meetings”.