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'How to lose friends': Rahul Gandhi takes swipe at Centre after Bhutan-China MoU

Bhutan and China signed an agreement on a “three-step roadmap” for expediting the boundary negotiations.
Rahul Gandhi said the government’s foreign policy is to “lose friends and influence nobody”.(AFP)
Published on Oct 15, 2021 07:21 PM IST

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday took a swipe at the Centre a day after China and Bhutan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for expediting negotiations on their boundary dispute. Sharing a news clip about the pact between China and Bhutan, Rahul Gandhi said the government’s foreign policy is to “lose friends and influence nobody”.

“GOI’s foreign policy: How to lose friends and influence nobody,” the Wayanad MP tweeted.

The agreement on a “three-step roadmap” for expediting the boundary talks came four years after Indian and Chinese troops were involved in a weeks-long standoff. Bhutan foreign minister Lyonpo Tandi Dorji and China’s assistant foreign minister signed the MoU during a virtual ceremony on behalf of the respective sides. China’s ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, and Bhutan’s ambassador to India, Maj Gen Vetsop Namgyel, also joined the virtual event.

During a regular news briefing on Thursday, the external affairs ministry said that India has taken note of the signing of the MoU between Bhutan and China, but didn’t answer the query whether New Delhi was kept in the loop about the agreement.

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“You are aware that Bhutan and China have been holding boundary negotiations since 1984. India has similarly been holding boundary negotiations with China,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

Bhutan foreign ministry said in a statement that two sides have held 24 rounds of boundary negotiations and 10 rounds of meeting at the “expert group level” since 1984. It stated that the pact will “provide a fresh impetus” to the negotiations.

“It is expected that the implementation of this Roadmap in a spirit of goodwill, understanding and accommodation will bring the boundary negotiations to a successful conclusion that is acceptable to both sides,” the ministry added.

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