With China trying to streghthen its diplomatic ties with Bhutan, India is sparing no efforts to underscore its unique relationship with the Himalayan kingdom.
China’s engagement with Bhutan, unlike its ties with other neighbours of India, is minimal. But Beijing has been trying to establish stronger ties with Bhutan in all spheres.
Outside the SAARC grouping, Bhutan’s close friend is Thailand, which is also its third biggest trading partner after India and Bangladesh.
And to underline the special ties, the Ministry of External Affairs has gone for an upgrade to the private visit of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was planning to India, making it an official one, though it will not have the trappings of a state visit.
So the King will now meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his arrival on October 20. He is also set to meet with Defence Minister A.K. Antony. The King will be delivering a keynote address at a function to mark the golden jubilee of the National Defence College in the Capital on October 21. He will also be a part of another function at NDC next day, also to be attended by President Pratibha Patil.
He will also attend a function at Doon School, which is completing 75 years this month. Then he is expected to go to Rathanbore, Rajasthan. The King’s initial travel plans didn’t have meetings with any Indian dignitary at an official level.
Bhutan and China have a dialogue process on for resolving the boundary disputes.
Beijing however has been expressing interests in Bhutan on a variety of fields including partaking the economic development.