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S Jaishankar in Bhutan: Foreign secretary meets top govt officials amid reports of Chinese troops near Doka La

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, visiting Bhutan, held talks with senior government officials on Wednesday amid reports of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) deploying fresh troops near Doka La.

The PLA has deployed more troops on the forward posts near the tri-junction point, according to a report in Economic Times.

It adds that these reports have appeared ahead of the Chinese Communist Party Congress, which is set to re-elect Chinese president Xi Jinping for a second term, hinting that these deployments could be a muscle-flexing exercise by the PLA.

Economic Times also reported that a proposal for a trilateral mechanism, involving representatives of India, China and Bhutan, to settle the Doka La boundary issue is likely to be made soon.

Jaishankar, who is on a three-day trip to Bhutan, has held wide-ranging talks with several local government officials.

In his first visit to Bhutan in three years, Jaishankar also called on Bhutanese foreign minister Damcho Dorji, the report said.

This is the first formal visit by an Indian official to Bhutan since the Doka La standoff ended on 28 August.

File image of S Jaishankar. Image courtesy: CNN-News18

File image of S Jaishankar. Image courtesy: CNN-News18

Jaishankar met Bhutanese prime minister Tshering Tobgay on Tuesday just weeks after disengagement of troops at Doka La and the meeting of Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping in XiamenOutlook reported

There was no readout on any of Jaishankar's meetings during the second day of his visit on Tuesday, The Telegraph reported.

However, the Doka La standoff that put Bhutan in the crossfire is expected to have come up during the talks, the report stated, adding that another issue likely to have been discussed in the meetings is the impact of the introduction of goods and services tax (GST) on Bhutan's economy.

A report by Asian Development Bank had mentioned GST could have an adverse impact on Bhutan's economy, the report said. Local Bhutanese news outlets reported about Indian trucks being stuck on the border town of Jaigaon because of issues linked to the new tax regime.

Meanwhile, Thimphu is also concerned about Beijing's delay to schedule the next round of negotiations to settle China-Bhutan boundary dispute.

Bhutan had earlier welcomed the Doka La disengagement, and expressed hope that the development would "contribute to the maintenance of peace and tranquility and status quo along the borders of Bhutan, China and India in keeping with the existing agreements between the respective countries".

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Oct 04, 2017 10:06 AM

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