India-Bhutan Defence Relations

The present standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam (located at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan) has highlighted India’s very special relationship with Bhutan, including military responsibilities.
What is Doklam issue?
  • In June 2017 Chinese Army (People’s Liberation Army) construction party had entered the Doklam area and attempted to construct a road.
  • Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) patrol had attempted to dissuade them from this unilateral activity.
  • Later Bhutan underlined that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory was a direct violation of the 1988 and 1998 agreements between Bhutan and China and affected the process of demarcating the boundary between these two countries.
  • Since these developments, India and Bhutan have been in continuous contact, giving a view of India’s role in Bhutan’s security and matters of mutual interest.
India-Bhutan Defence Relations:
  • Under the 2007 India-Bhutan Friendship Treaty, both countries have agreed to cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests.
  • It provides that, neither Government will allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other.
  • In reality, it gives India virtual responsibility to protect Bhutan from the kind of external threat including threat from Chinese military.
  • Moreover, the Eastern Army Command and the Eastern Air Command of India have integrated protection of Bhutan into their role.
  • The Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT), headed by a Major General also plays a critical role in training Bhutanese security personnel.



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