Army Chief meets Bhutan King in Thimphu

Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande called on the Fourth King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk and discussed aspects of mutual interest, in Thimphu on Sunday.
Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande called on the Fourth King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk and discussed aspects of mutual interest, in Thimphu on Sunday. ANI

New Delhi: Chief of Army Staff Gen Manoj Pande has met Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and other top civil and military leaders of Bhutan in Thimphu with a focus on boosting "enduring" strategic ties.

Gen Pande was on a visit to Bhutan in the backdrop of growing concerns in India over China's relentless attempts to expand military infrastructure around Bhutanese territory in the Doklam plateau.

People familiar with Gen Pande's engagements in Bhutan said regional defence and security challenges, Chinese activities in the plateau and adjoining areas and ways to enhance bilateral defence cooperation figured in his talks.

The Army Chief's visit to Bhutan coincided with India's decision to authorise the export of 5,000 metric tonnes of wheat and 10,000 metric tonnes of sugar to Bhutan as per Thimphu's requirements.

Earlier this year, India restricted the export of the two commodities to strengthen India's food security.

The Army Chief called on the King on Saturday besides meeting Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan.

"General Manoj Pande #COAS called on His Majesty the King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and discussed aspects of enhancing the enduring bilateral relationship between the two Nations," the Army said in a tweet.

It said he was also accorded an "impeccable Guard of Honour" at Thimphu.

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