In a step towards resolving their boundary disputes, Bhutan and China signed an agreement on a three-step roadmap to help speed up talks, at a meeting of Foreign Ministers held via video conference.
The roadmap “for Expediting the Bhutan-China Boundary Negotiations”, is expected to kickstart the progress on the boundary talks process that has been delayed for five years, first due to the Doklam standoff in 2017 and then by the pandemic.
The timing of the agreement is particularly significant for New Delhi, given the border talks on their 17-month old standoff at the Line of Actual Control appear to have hit an impasse this week.
The roadmap had been finalised during the 10th expert group meeting in Kunming in April 2021, and presented for approval to their Governments in Thimphu and Beijing respectively.
A Southeast Asia summit this month will invite a non-political representative from Myanmar, sidelining the leader of the military junta in an unprecedented move for the group.
The decision by foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)marks a shift for the bloc, which has traditionally favoured a policy of engagement and non-interference.
International pressure has been building on ASEAN to take a tougher position on Myanmar’s failure to take the agreed steps to end the violence, allow humanitarian access and start dialogue with its opponents.