India and Bhutan will sign a revised treaty of friendship on Thursday, which will give Thimphu more freedom in crucial areas of foreign policy and military purchases.
The revised version of the 57-year-old treaty will be signed after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, who arrived here Wednesday on a six-day visit, holds talks on a wide spectrum of bilateral and regional issues.
The 27-year-old Wangchuk, who will be enthroned next year when the tiny Himalayan kingdom holds its first elections as a democratic polity, began his visit with a meeting with National Security Adviser MK Narayanan. He will also meet Home Minister Shivraj Patil later in the day.
The Bhutanese monarch will meet External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and ruling coalition chair Sonia Gandhi before holding talks with Manmohan Singh on Thursday.
The updated friendship treaty, which will be signed on Thursday evening, envisages broad changes that could involve modifying Article 2 and 6 and effectively give Thimphu more freedom to pursue its foreign policy and in the purchase non-lethal military equipment as long as such decisions do not conflict with India's vital strategic interests.