Besides holding deliberations with his Bhutanese counterpart Dasho Sonam Tshong, Gokhale also called on Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck during the visit which began on Sunday, the External Affairs Ministry said. This is Gokhale’s second visit to the country this year. In February, Gokhale had visited Thimphu with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat to hold extensive talks with the Bhutanese leaders on strategic issues, including the situation in Doklam
A statement, issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday, 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 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,” it said.
Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a two-and-half-month-long standoff in Doklam, from June 16 last year after the Indian side had stopped the construction of a road by the Chinese Army in a disputed Doklam tri-junction. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam. The face-off ended on August 28. China and Bhutan are engaged in talks over the resolution of the dispute in the area.
India has maintained that since it is a tri-junction involving the three countries, it also has a say in the issue, especially in the backdrop of a 2012 agreement between special representatives of the two countries, that have till now held 20 rounds of talks.