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Shivam Yadav asked: Is there a need to revise the Friendship Treaty with Bhutan?

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  • Medha Bisht replies: A treaty can only be revised by the mutual consent of the concerned parties. The India-Bhutan Friendship Treaty was first signed in 1949. Since certain aspects of the over five-decades-old Treaty were seen as outdated, not reflective of the bilateral relations as it stands today, the two countries agreed to update the Friendship Treaty in 2007. For instance, in the updated Treaty of 2007, many articles from the 1949 Treaty such as Article II, III and IV were dropped. Significantly, in the 2007 Treaty, the scope and the nature of the existing treaty was expanded to include the expanding cultural and economic and development facets, essential for further strengthening bilateral ties.

    Given that the 2007 Treaty is balanced and takes note of multiple facets including security, there is no need to update the Treaty. Article 9 of the 2007 India-Bhutan Friendship Treaty notes that, “Any differences and disputes arising in the interpretation and application of this Treaty shall be settled bilaterally by negotiations in a spirit of trust and understanding in consonance with the historically close ties of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation that form the bedrock of Bhutan-India relations.” Article 9 demonstrates that the 2007 Treaty has an inbuilt exit-clause for settling disputes without jeopardising the existence of the Treaty, which is a signature of sustained goodwill and trust between both countries.

    Dr. Medha Bisht was Associate Fellow at IDSA. She is currently Assistant Professor at Department of International Relations, South Asian University, New Delhi.

    Posted on November 16, 2018