Doklam factor possibly resulted in ousting of pro-India People Democratic Party of former PM Tshering Tobgay. PDP was behind newcomer Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT).
DPT, a slightly right of centre party, ruled Bhutan from 2008-13 and had interest in building diplomatic ties with China and a possible resolution of boundary dispute on terms of China, a disturbing news for India. But sources also pointed it out that none of the DPT leaders had ever publicly spoken out against New Delhi or Bhutan’s close relations with China.
Unlike 2013 polls, India was not an election issue. DNT indicated further strengthening of economic ties with India in its poll manifesto. The party being more left of centre in its outlook will focus more on social issues, health and economy. DPT too in its manifesto promised diversification of ties with India.
India is closely observing political developments in the Himalayan State of Bhutan – its closest partner for decades https://t.co/bcooiqYExy
— EconomicTimes (@EconomicTimes) September 17, 2018
India must boost relations with the new government given China, expanding its influence in the Himalayan state of Bhutan. Bhutan is strategically important for India with their shared security concerns. The 2007 India-Bhutan treaty provides for close cooperation on issues relating to national interests of the two.
Beijing is trying its best to unlock diplomatic ties with Bhutan. Early last year, Beijing tried to renew its efforts to open its embassy in Thimphu which has not gained much ground since last 3 years during PDP rule. Bhutan and China had 24 rounds of negotiations to settle the border dispute, but the Doklam issue proved to be a setback.
According to sources, China will have a strong hand while negotiating claims in Doklam, Charithang, Sinchulimpa and Dramana in western Bhutan to gain strategic edge over India being very close to the Siliguri corridor.
In order to strengthen relations, PM Modi plans to visit Thimphu soon on the occasion of 50 years of creation of diplomatic ties between the two countries. New Delhi will also be celebrating Bhutan week. Regardless of election results, a cordial relationship is expected to continue with the Bhutan King.