Kathmandu: Amid the ongoing standoff between Indian and Chinese troops on the Doklam plateau, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met with “close friend and neighbour” Bhutan’s Foreign Minister Damcho Dorji here on Friday.
“Time with a close friend and neighbour. EAM meets with FM of Bhutan Damcho Dorji on sidelines of Bimstec Foreign Ministers’ meet,” Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar along with a picture of the two leaders.
Indian and Chinese troops are in a tense standoff situation since mid-June at Doklam in the Sikkim sector after a construction party of China’s People’s Liberation Army entered the Doklam region ostensibly to build a road there.
While India and Bhutan have said that China’s act violated the status quo in the India-Bhutan-China trijunction, Beijing has claimed that the area is a part of Chinese territory and called for the withdrawal of Indian troops. New Delhi is, however, firm on pullout of troops of both sides.
Earlier on Friday, addressing the 15th Ministerial Meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec), Sushma Swaraj said that the member states of the regional bloc have “adopted a holistic approach to tackle traditional and non-traditional security challenges”.
Later, Sushma Swaraj met Sri Lankan State Foreign Minister Vasantha Senanayake.
“Meeting another key partner, this time to the South; EAM meets Vasantha Senanayake State Minister of Foreign Affairs on sidelines of #Bimstec,” Raveesh Kumar said in another tweet.
Sri Lanka is one of the major recipients of development credit given by India with a total commitment of $2.6 billion, including $436 million as grants.
India and Sri Lanka are also diplomatically engaged over the issue of Tamil fishermen in Sri Lankan waters and Sushma Swaraj had taken this up with then Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake during his visit to New Delhi in June.
Friday’s meeting came on the heels of Karunanayake’s resignation on Thursday over corruption charges in a bond scam.