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November 4, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm


The growing diplomatic ties between Bhutan and China have given rise to new concerns for India, warranting the establishment of updated diplomatic boundaries. The visit of Bhutan’s foreign minister, Tandi Dorji, to China and the consequent agreements have set in motion changes in the geopolitical landscape of the region. It demands a reassessment of India’s relationship with Bhutan to navigate the new developments effectively.

Challenges in the Emerging Bhutan-China Relations

Background of Bhutan-China Relations:

  • Bhutan has historically been cautious about engaging in global politics due to its apprehensions over being embroiled in power struggles.
  • Its association with India was a result of China’s actions in Tibet in the 1950s and subsequent seizure of Bhutanese enclaves, forging a close tie with India.

China’s Diplomatic and Strategic Position:

  • For China, resolving diplomatic issues with Bhutan is vital to assert its regional power and strategic advantage concerning India.
  • China has employed both coercive and conciliatory tactics to engage Bhutan in negotiations and territorial disputes, especially in recent times.

Economic and Security Dynamics:

  • Bhutan’s economic needs and a changing world order have influenced its inclination towards China, leading to increased trade and a shift in the economic paradigm.
  • India’s comprehensive support to Bhutan in hydropower and development projects underscores the robust Indo-Bhutanese relationship.

India’s Response and the Emerging Concerns

Indo-Bhutan Relationship:

  • India’s multifaceted relationship with Bhutan has deep economic, developmental, and security dimensions.
  • Current ongoing security cooperation and economic collaborations reflect a well-established bond between both nations.

Challenges and Future Scenarios:

  • India is watchful of China’s intentions and abilities, especially regarding sensitive regions such as Doklam and the newer claims in the Sakteng region.
  • Bhutan’s inclination toward diplomatic ties with China suggests a new phase in regional politics that may require redefined boundaries between India and Bhutan.


The evolving relations between Bhutan and China necessitate a comprehensive reassessment of diplomatic strategies and boundaries to safeguard India’s interests and maintain stable regional dynamics. The longstanding Indo-Bhutanese ties remain strong, yet the emergence of Bhutan-China relations will usher in newer challenges, demanding a nuanced and updated approach in India’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Bhutan.


November 4, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
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