The recently concluded BIMSTEC summit is now a regional intergovernmental organization with a formal charter, giving it a clear mission and legality and a destiny linked to South and South East Asia. It is now better equipped to accelerate economic development for the fifth of the world’s population, which contributes only 4% of global GDP.
India is subtly adding four new elements in the policy matrix
The origin of current India-China hostilities in Bhutan harks back to a colonial era agreement framed in 1890 between the British and the Qing empire on issues related to Tibet and Sikkim. The present standoff is an occasion to revisit many aspects of a relationship that has shown perennial strain
India’s long-term positive relationship with Bhutan is underpinned by hydropower: India helped develop Bhutan’s power projects and we purchase the surplus energy.The India-Bhutan relationship can be a model for improving links with Nepal which is trying to develop at least three projects jointly with India
Narendra Modi has picked Bhutan for his first foreign visit after taking charge, a sign that the neighbourhood is a foreign policy priority for the new government. Bhutan’s economy is closely linked to that of India’s, and despite pressures from powerful countries, Bhutan has always kept Indian interests paramount.