The two-day state visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the country not only reinforced the strong and unique relationship but also India’s continued support to Bhutan’s development aspirations.
As one of the closest friends and recipient of support, Bhutan assured India her unwavering support to the nation’s leadership role in the regional as well as global affairs.
In his press statement in Simtokha Dzong on August 17, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “strong and dynamic leadership”. He said that India’s stature and influence had grown in the international arena and was fast emerging as a global leader.
For India, Bhutan’s support comes at a time when the country is vying for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
“Your leadership has a rare combination of courage, compassion, and calibre. We see you taking bold steps for greater interest of your nation and people. I offer my admiration and sincere appreciation,” Lyonchhen said. He added that politically and economically stable and successful India would translate into a more prosperous region.
Bhutan and India signed nine MoUs in various fields, including education and space technology.
The visiting prime minister also assured India’s cooperation in Bhutan’s five-year plans. “It is a privilege for India that we are a major partner in the development of Bhutan,” he said.
At a time when Bhutan is facing the shortage of subsidised LPG, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India would increase the supply of subsidised LPG from 700 to 1,000 MT per month. This, he said, would help bring clean fuel to the villages.
One of the main highlights of the visit besides the inauguration of the Mangdechhu project was the inauguration of the earth station of South Asia satellite, which the visiting prime minister said would help accelerate Bhutan’s development with the help of space technology. The RuPay card, which was also launched jointly by the prime ministers of two countries, is expected to further enhance the relationship between the two countries in areas of digital payments, and trade, and tourism.
He also announced that India had agreed to extend the presence of unique statue Zhabdrung (which India loaned to Bhutan) for five more years.
“The history of India-Bhutan relations is as glorious as it has a promising future. I believe that India and Bhutan will remain a unique model of relations between two countries in the world,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.