India on Thursday said it “notes” the agreement on a “three-stage roadmap” to expedite negotiations to resolve the border dispute between Bhutan and China.
The agreement was signed four years after India and Chinese armies closed in a 73-day standoff at the Doklam tri-junction, when China tried to expand a road in an area claimed by Bhutan.
“We have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Bhutan and China. You are aware that Bhutan and China have been having border talks since 1984. India is similarly holding border talks with China,” said Arindam Bagchi, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.
Bhutan said in a statement that its Foreign Minister Lyonpo Tandi Dorji and China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Jianghao on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding on a “three-stage roadmap” to accelerate Bhutan-China border talks. “The MoU on the three-stage roadmap will give a new impetus to the border talks,” the Bhutanese Foreign Ministry said.
It is expected that the implementation of this roadmap in the spirit of goodwill, understanding and reconciliation will lead to a successful conclusion of the border talks which is acceptable to both sides.
“The negotiations conducted in the spirit of compromise and adjustment are guided by the 1988 Joint Communiqué on the Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the Border and the 1998 Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace, Peace and Status quo in the Bhutan-China Border Area,” Foreign Ministry said.
During the 10th meeting of the Expert Group in Kunming in April this year, the two sides agreed on a three-stage roadmap that would be based on the 1988 Guiding Principles and help accelerate the ongoing border talks.
Bhutan shares a border of over 400 km with China and the two countries have held 24 rounds of border talks to resolve the dispute.