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“India values its relationship with Bhutan”

Bhutan is looking at assistance of Nu 45B from India in the 11th Plan

Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley met with the president of India, Pranab Mukherjee, and prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi yesterday.

President Pranab Mukherjee said India values its relationship with Bhutan and commended Lyonchhoen’s role as the first democratically elected prime minister of Bhutan.

Lyonchhoen also met with prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh yesterday during which the two prime ministers reviewed the state of relationship between the two countries and expressed satisfaction on the growing ties, mutual goodwill and friendship.

Aside from thanking India for its support and assistance, Lyonchhoen discussed other issues of mutual interest such as cooperation in the area of hydropower and further integrating the two economies. Prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh assured that the government of India would fulfill all commitments to Bhutan, including in the hydropower sector.

The two prime ministers, over a luncheon hosted by prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh at his residence, also agreed to institute a structured forum for policy dialogues between the two countries.

Lyonchhoen also met with the vice president of India, Mohammad Hamid Ansari.

The finance minister P. Chidambaram and general secretary of Congress Digvijay Singh called on Lyonchhoen. During the meeting, the finance minister assured Lyonchhoen that India would honour all commitments made to Bhutan.

The national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon is scheduled to call on Lyonchhoen, prior to his return to Bhutan, today.

The two-day visit has further deepened the strong ties of friendship and cooperation between Bhutan and India, according to the prime minister’s office.

Lyonchhoen is accompanied by the economic affairs minister and minister in-charge of foreign affairs, Khandu Wangchuk, foreign secretary Yeshey Dorji and other senior government officials.

Speaking to Kuensel, Lyonchhoen said he expressed confidence that the government of India will continue supporting the government of Bhutan and its 11th five-year plan. “For which we are looking at India as the largest contributor to the 11th five year plan, as in the past,” added Lyonchhoen.

“The tentative figure that is being proposed is in the neighbourhood of Nu 45B, against Nu 43B that they gave during the 10th five year plan,” Lyonchhoen said.

He said that the two sides have agreed the issue will be discussed in more detail during planned talks to be held later this year.

Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley returns to the country, today. Lyonchhoen was in India to convey the Bhutanese people’s and government’s appreciation for India’s support and assistance provided towards Bhutan’s transition to democracy, its 10th five year plan, and the importance attached to the country’s relationship with India.

By Gyalsten K Dorji,  New Delhi

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