External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday held a bilateral meeting with her Bhutanese counterpart Damcho Dorji on the margins of BIMSTEC ministerial meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal.
The meeting assumes significance as a military standoff between armies of India and China entered into seventh weeks in tri-junction involving Bhutan in its Doklam area.
The meeting between the two foreign minister comes just a day after Bhutan handed a diplomatic rebuff to its mighty neighbour China, completely refuting the claims made by one of the top Chinese official that Thimpu has conveyed to it that the area of military face-off belongs to Beijing.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, among others, was present during the meeting. There was no readout released by the MEA after the meeting.
Earlier, addressing the 15 th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting in Kathmandu today, Ms Swaraj said this group It links the ecologies of the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal. With shared histories, values and ways of life, it is the natural platform, to build a common future.
“For India, BIMSTEC is a natural choice to fulfil our key foreign policy priorities of ‘Neighbourhood First’ and ‘Act East’,” she said.
India’s focus on BIMSTEC is increased after Pakistan failed to convene the Saarc Summit last year as most nations of the grouping refused to participate citing Islamabad support to terrorism and the internal security situation in Pakistan.
BISMTEC is a regional grouping where Pakistan is not a member.
The First Meeting of BIMSTEC National Security Chiefs was held in New Delhi in March this year, in which a holistic approach to tackle traditional and non-traditional security challenges, that threaten the region, was adopted.
“We worked out collective strategies to counter the scourge of terrorism, violent extremism & transnational crimes, as also to strengthen our maritime and cyber security cooperation,” said the Minister.