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China-Bhutan Expert Group Meeting

In recent news, the 13th Expert Group Meeting between China and Bhutan has garnered attention for its focus on boundary delimitation. This meeting marks a significant step in addressing a long-standing issue between the two nations.

This topic of “China-Bhutan Expert Group Meeting” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

Bridging the Boundary Divide

Exploring Boundary Delimitation

The central theme of the 13th Expert Group Meeting between China and Bhutan revolves around boundary delimitation. This complex task involves defining and demarcating the precise territorial boundaries between the two nations.

Initiating Deliberations: The Joint Technical Team

A noteworthy aspect of this meeting is the convening of the first session of the Joint Technical Team. This team has been established specifically to engage in the delimitation of the disputed boundary, setting the stage for potentially constructive discussions.

The Significance and Implications

Rekindling Dialogue After a Hiatus

This meeting holds exceptional significance as it marks the first formal dialogue between China and Bhutan regarding the boundary issue since 2016. A prolonged lack of discussions has amplified the complexity of the matter.

Impact on India: The “Swap Arrangement”

India is observantly monitoring the developments in this meeting due to its ramifications, particularly the potential for a “swap arrangement.” This pertains to the regions of Jamparlung and Pasamlung valleys in the north and the Doklam plateau in the west. These areas are in close proximity to India’s strategic Siliguri corridor and were a focal point of the India-China stand-off in 2017.

Location and Historical Context

Venue: Beijing

The 13th Expert Group Meeting was hosted in Beijing, serving as a neutral ground for discussions between China and Bhutan.

A Prolonged Journey

The boundary talks between China and Bhutan were initiated in 1984. The 24th round of discussions took place in 2016, and there had been a subsequent pause in formal dialogue, especially after the Doklam stand-off in 2017.

The Road Ahead

Focusing on Disputed Regions

The discussions primarily concentrate on disputed areas, notably the northern regions of Bhutan and the western lands abutting the Doklam plateau.

A Three-Step Road Map

The progress made in the 13th Expert Group Meeting aligns with the three-step road map outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in October 2021. This roadmap reflects a mutual commitment to navigating the complex issue of boundary delimitation.

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