Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday held talks with Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck focusing on ways to bolster bilateral engagement in a range of areas including economic cooperation.
The King began his two-day visit to India on Monday amid some concerns in New Delhi over China's attempts to expand influence over Thimphu.
Certain remarks by Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering on the Doklam tri-junction were seen by many as the Himalayan nation cosying up to Beijing though Bhutan maintained that there is no change in its stance on the border dispute.
It is learnt that the talks between PM Modi and King Wangchuck were focused on ways to expand bilateral ties.
The Bhutanese King was received at the Delhi airport by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in a special gesture reflecting the importance New Delhi has attached to the visit.
On Monday evening, Jaishankar called on the visiting dignitary and said the King's vision for Bhutan's future and for strengthening the unique partnership with India is deeply appreciated.
Bhutan is a strategically important country for India and the defence and security ties between the two sides have witnessed significant expansion in the last few years.
The strategic ties witnessed an upward trajectory in the last few years in the backdrop of a 73-day face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam tri-junction in 2017.
The Doklam plateau is considered an important area for India's strategic interest.
The standoff at Doklam tri-junction in 2017 began after China tried to extend a road in an area that Bhutan claimed belonged to it.
India had strongly opposed the construction as it would have impacted its overall security interests. The India-China face-off was resolved following several rounds of talks.
In October 2021, Bhutan and China signed an agreement on a "three-step roadmap" to expedite negotiations to resolve their festering boundary dispute.
Bhutan shares an over 400-km-long border with China and the two countries have held over 24 rounds of boundary talks in a bid to resolve the dispute.
In a recent interview, the Bhutanese prime minister had said that China has an equal say in resolving the border dispute in Doklam.
India has consistently been Bhutan's top trading partner, and remains the leading source of investments in Bhutan.
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