Chidambaram discusses issues relating to border security and activities of militants; KPMG lists 11 core areas of mutual cooperation between India and Bhutan; Assam CM: Northeast militants having linkages with Communist Party of Bhutan
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  • In his first visit abroad after taking over as Union Home Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram visited Bhutan from August 21-24. During the course of the visit, he met King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley, former king Jigme Singye Wangchuck, Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs Minjur Dorji, among others. Issues relating to border security and activities of northeast militants were discussed1.

    A report by international consultants KPMG on behalf of the Bhutan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of Indian Industry and funded by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs identified eleven areas of mutual cooperation. These included environment management, tourism, agro processing, non-timber forestry, horticulture, ICT, education, medicinal plantations, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and automobiles2.

    Bhutan signed its maiden deal with a private sector company, Bhutan Pharmaceuticals Private Limited (BPPL), for collaboration on issues pertaining to preservation of bio-diversity3.

    At the recently held Conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security in New Delhi, Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi pointed out the security threat posed by militants having linkages with the Communist Party of Bhutan. Mr. Gogoi claimed that terrorist outfits like the ULFA and NDFB were on the look out for opportunities to regain bases lost in the aftermath of the previous crackdown. He also noted the growing influence of Communist Party of India (Maoist) in the Siliguri Corridor, which he stated was leading the anti-monarchist propaganda in the garb of Communist Party of Bhutan (CPB)4. Indian officials have also pointed out that militants often take shelter in the dense outgrowth in South Bhutan, which is a transit route to enter Arunachal Pradesh. Bhutan has however asserted that since 2003, no anti-India elements were operating from its soil5.