Bhutan PM says China must maintain status quo on Doklam

Bhutan PM says China must maintain status quo on Doklam

No side should do anything near the trijunction point unilaterally, he says

Calling for China to maintain status quo in the Doklam region, Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering said “no side” should do anything near the trijunction point between India, China and Bhutan “unilaterally”.

In an exclusive interview to The Hindu, and the first public comments by the Bhutanese leader on the Doklam issue which had seen a near conflict between the Indian and Chinese armies in 2017, he said that as long as status quo was maintained, “there will be peace and tranquillity in the region.”

Mr. Tshering was reacting to a question about the recent reports of an unprecedented build-up of military infrastructure on the Chinese side of the Doklam plateau that has been part of a boundary dispute between Bhutan and China.

He said the boundary talks between the two sides had made good progress, however, with 25 rounds completed. Asked whether the talks could lead to diplomatic ties being established, he reiterated Bhutan’s policy of not establishing ties with any permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Mr. Tshering also called on India and Pakistan to work together for the growth of South Asia and said it was “too early” to call the SAARC unviable. His comments follow calls by Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena and Nepal’s Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli to revive the SAARC, which hasn’t held a summit since 2014 due to the tensions between India and Pakistan.

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