Closer together: On the India-Bhutan talks and the plans ahead

India and Bhutan can change the development story of the region

Efficient and time-bound execution is, therefore, key to such ambitious plans. Given India’s problems with Pakistan and sanctions on Myanmar for the 2021 coup blocking the path for trade and land connectivity to the East, working with other countries on India’s periphery to build connectivity, markets and energy links is the most sustainable way forward. In the longer term, geopolitical conflicts and anti-globalisation trends are forcing regional groupings to be more cohesive, something South Asia has not been able to achieve as yet. As India worries about China’s push into South Asian trade, infrastructure projects and strategic ties, including concerns over a Bhutan-China boundary agreement’s overhang over Doklam and India’s “Chicken Neck” (Siliguri Corridor) route, these are ideas which will offer more security and prosperity for the countries involved, with particular benefits for Bhutan, India’s traditionally trusted partner in the region.