After Jaishankar, acting US envoy to India visits Thimphu

MaryKay L Carlson is significant amid the reports of fresh incursions by Chinese Army into Bhutan

After Jaishankar, acting US envoy to India visits Thimphu

The acting US envoy to India, MaryKay L Carlson, is on a visit to Thimphu, amid reports about fresh incursions by Chinese People’s Liberation Army into Bhutan.
Carlson’s tour to Thimphu comes close on the heels of visit of S Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary of India, to the capital of tiny Himalayan Kingdom, which transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a parliamentary constitutional monarchy in 2008.

She called on Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on Wednesday. Since Washington does not have any diplomatic mission in Thimphu, the American Embassy in New Delhi manages US relations with Bhutan.
The back-to-back visits of Foreign Secretary of India and US ambassador to India to Thimphu came at a time when reports indicated that Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers had made at least three incursions into territory claimed by Bhutan along its disputed border with China. The reports about fresh incursions by the Chinese PLA into Bhutan came a month after India and China ended a 72-day-long military face-off at Doklam Plateau in western region of the Himalayan Kingdom.
Though the stand-off ended with both withdrawing troops from Doklam Plateau on August 28, the Chinese PLA purportedly deployed additional troops in its forward posts near India-China-Bhutan tri-junction boundary point. Both New Delhi and Thimphu are worried over reports of fresh build-up by Chinese PLA in the area as well as incursions into territory claimed by Bhutan.
The issue was discussed when Jaishankar met Tobgay and Bhutanese Foreign Minister Damcho Dorjee in Thimphu on Tuesday, sources told the DH.
The King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, also granted an audience to Foreign Secretary of India.
Jaishankar is likely to return to New Delhi on Wednesday.
Carlson’s visit to Thimphu amid reports of fresh build-up by Chinese PLA and incursions into Bhutan is significant. Washington had tacitly indicated its support for New Delhi during India-China military stand-off in Doklam Plateau.
When China’s rhetoric against India had escalated tension between the two neighbours, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had received a call from American President Donald Trump on August 15.

Trump had greeted Modi on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of independence of India. Sending out a message to increasingly aggressive China, Trump and Modi had resolved to work together to “enhance peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region”. They had also agreed to set up a new mechanism for bilateral dialogue, involving the Defence and External Affairs Ministers of India and their US counterparts.

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