[Answered] Discuss the 3-Step Roadmap initiated by China and Bhutan for border resolution. What are its implications for Bhutan’s sovereignty and India’s strategic interests?

Introduction: Give brief context to the question

Body: What is 3 step roadmap and its implications on India and Bhutan

Conclusion: Way forward

The joint technical team (JTT) on the delimitation and demarcation of the Bhutan-China boundary signed a cooperation agreement at the 25th round of boundary negotiations between China and Bhutan in Beijing which is a significant step in the 3-Step Roadmap for border resolution, which was started in 2021 between both nations.

What is 3-step roadmap for border resolution?

  • Diplomatic engagement: The roadmap is anticipated to have a significant impact on expediting the demarcation negotiations and advancing the process of forging diplomatic relations between Bhutan and China.
  • Mutual understanding: The boundary talks will successfully conclude with a solution that is acceptable to both China and Bhutan if the roadmap is implemented in an atmosphere of goodwill, understanding, and accommodation.
  • Territorial swap: China proposed a “swap arrangement”, where China conceded its northern claims for Bhutan accepting western claims, including Doklam which would be of concern to India.

Implications for Bhutan’s sovereignty and India’s strategic interest

  • Bhutan’s security: Historically, Bhutan has depended on India for security and assistance during international negotiations, such as those concerning the China border conflict. Bhutan’s sovereignty may be somewhat threatened by any measure that circumvents or restricts India’s influence over security or foreign policy choices in Bhutan.
  • Strategic ramifications: India will face severe security difficulties if Bhutan concedes to China’s claim over the Doklam territory. Adjacent to India’s “Chicken Neck,” or Siliguri Corridor, is the Doklam area. The northeastern part of India and the Indian mainland are connected by this corridor.
  • Commercial ramifications: India’s trade and commercial interests in the region may be impacted by China’s increasing economic sway over Bhutan. China may then be able to access Bhutan’s natural resources, such as hydroelectricity, endangering India’s energy security.
  • Diplomatic ramifications: Bhutan’s long-standing pro-Indian foreign policy may be impacted by China’s increasing influence in the country. As a result, Bhutan might turn away from India and ally more with China, which might have negative diplomatic repercussions for India in the area.


Bhutan should factor in India’s national security interests when concluding any border settlement agreement with China. It is possible to reach a border deal that addresses Bhutan’s concerns in the northern region while respecting India’s strategic boundaries in the western sector, without necessarily compromising India’s interests.

Print Friendly and PDF