THIMPU: India and Bhutan have discussed ways to improve security along the international border and the possibility of opening a road, linking Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang with Assam via the Himalayan country.
Better security coordination along the Indo-Bhutan border, more trade between Bhutan and Indian states like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal, cultural exchange and a host of other issues were discussed by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju with the top Bhutanese leadership, including Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, during his two-day visit here that ended yesterday.
During the meeting, the Bhutanese Prime Minister is believed to have cited various concerns of the people of Bhutan because of which the country is not yet ready for proposal like joint security along the border, sources said.
Bhutan has in the past cooperated with India and helped to flush out militant groups like United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) from the Himalayan nation.
Besides, there were several incidents in the past along the border in which Bhutanese nationals were attacked by NDFB militants.
“Honourable Prime Minister of Bhutan is known for his humility and vision. I am touched by his acknowledgement of my useful meeting with him. He has clear commitments for India and useful relation with neighbouring Northeastern India,” Rijiju said.
Besides issues of cultural exchange, more trade with Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal, better security coordination, Rijiju discussed with Bhutanese leaders how to improve relations in spiritual and religious fields.
“I raised the issue of road link of strategic Tawang with Assam via eastern Bhutan,” he said.
Rijiju said he had “fruitful meetings” with Bhutan’s Foreign Minister, Home Minister, Army Chief of Bhutan and discussed various issues with them.
During his meeting with Bhutanese Army Chief Batoo Tshering, the Minister discussed providing security at the Indo-Bhutan border and to the citizens.
“India-Bhutan friendship is unique which has direct bearing on Northeast India. It was a fantastic visit,” Rijiju said.
Indo-Bhutan friendship is fantastic due to our shared cultural and spiritual heritage and common political interest, he said.
The Bhutanese Prime Minister said in a tweet that he had enjoyed hosting Rijiju in the country.
“Enjoyed discussing a range of issues with Kiren Rijiju, India’s MOS of Home Affairs, this afternoon,” Tobgay tweeted.