New Delhi, March 6 (UPI) India and Bhutan struck an agreement Thursday that will ensure peace and stability in the region and protect border trade between the two countries.
The agreement, signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, commits to joint patrolling and border security along the disputed Sikkim-China border.
The agreement, announced by Singh and Xi on their way to the White House, is the latest sign of growing cooperation between the Asian and Western allies.
China has been angered by India’s recent moves to restrict the movement of goods and people across the border in the face of growing threats from Pakistan.
The deal also includes provisions that allow India to expand its land border with Pakistan and build an artificial border that it said would “defend the security of our border and peace and tranquility.”
India is currently the world’s third-largest consumer of coal.
It’s also the world leader in coal mining and coal-based electricity generation.
In 2015, China said it would cut back on its coal exports to India if it could not secure the Sikkims border.
Last year, India imposed its strict new coal restrictions on SikkIM and other parts of the region, and in August it suspended all coal exports from the area.
China also maintains a long-standing military presence in parts of India, including Sikkimes border with Bhutan.
A military base and airstrip on the border is part of the Chinese government’s claim on Bhutan’s border area.