Of the many milestone activities that would take place during the visit of Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi next week, the 720MW Mangdechhu hydroelectric plant will be inaugurated.
Prime Minister Modi will arrive in the country on August 17 for a two-day state visit on the invitation of Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering.
Upon his arrival, the Prime Minister will receive an audience with His Majesty The King and His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo in Thimphu. In the morning, PM Modi is expected to visit Simtokha dzong on his way from Paro international airport, where he would offer prayers and plant a tree sapling in the premises of the dzong.
Opposition leader Pema Gyamtsho (PhD) will also call-on the Prime Minister.
After the Royal audience, Lyonchhen will hold a meeting with PM Modi. The two Prime Ministers will then proceed to the Gyalyong Tshogkhang where they would inaugurate and launch multiple programmes.
Following the inauguration of the Mangdechhu plant, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering and PM Modi will jointly launch a postal stamp commemorating five decades of Bhutan-India hydropower cooperation.
The RuPay card of India, which PM Modi has promoted for financial inclusion through digital technology, will also be launched. Bhutan will be the second country after Singapore to use the card.
The launching of the scheme will enable cross border inter-operability of the RuPay card in ATMS and points of sales in terminals both in Bhutan and India. The RuPay scheme is made possible in Bhutan through connection of the Bhutan financial connection switch and India’s national financial switch.
A ground station for the South Asian Satellite (SAS) and an inter-connection between the Indian National Knowledge Network (NKN) and Druk Research and Education Network (DrukREN) will also be launched.
The inter-connection will allow DrukREN to access information and researches conducted by universities and institutions including libraries and laboratories.
Some nine memoranda of understanding (MoU) are also expected to be signed.
One of the MoUs will be signed on the aircraft accident and incident investigation between the aircraft investigation unit of information and communications ministry and the aircraft accident and investigation bureau of the ministry of civil aviation of India.
The director of Department of Bilateral Affairs of the foreign ministry, Sonam Tobgay, said that the signing of the MoU is to enhance aviation safety, and cooperation in aircraft accident and accident investigations. It was also to provide investigation trainings and sharing of information and expertise.
To enable academic and faculty exchanges, an MoU between the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) and four leading Indian universities in Kanpur, Delhi, Silchar and Mumbai will also be signed.
For judicial training and cooperation, another MoU would be signed between the National Legal Institute of Bhutan and the National Judicial Academy of India.
To develop academic and cultural inter-exchange in the areas of legal education and research, the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law and the National Law School of India University will sign an MoU.
The Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT) will also sign an MoU with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to explore areas of satellite and space technology. Besides enhancing the capacity of Bhutanese space engineers, the two countries will also undertake joint projects under the MoU.
On the second day, PM Modi will deliver and address the students of the RUB at the RUB convention hall. Ministers, Members of Parliament and senior government officials will attend the address.
His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen will host a luncheon at the kuenrey of the Trashichhodzong. After the luncheon, PM Modi will leave for Paro and depart for India in a special aircraft.
This is Prime Minister Modi’s second visit to Bhutan. His first state visit to the country was in June 2014 soon after assuming the office as the Prime Minister.
Foreign Minister, Dr Tandi Dorji during a press conference yesterday said that the upcoming visit is in keeping with long-established tradition of regular exchange of visits at the highest levels between the two countries.
PM Modi’s visit will further strengthen the already existing close ties of the friendship and cooperation between the two countries, he added.