Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a wide-ranging dialogue with his Bhutanese counterpart Dr Lotay Tshering on Saturday. On the first day of his second visit to Bhutan, the PM Modi signed 10 MoUs with Bhutan to infuse new energy in their ties. Besides that, they discussed steps to further expand the bilateral partnership across several sectors.
“We had a comprehensive meeting, where we deliberated on the relations between India and Bhutan. There is great scope to further improve economic and cultural ties between our nations,” said PM Modi said.
PM Modi received a red-carpet welcome at the Paro airport on Saturday where Bhutan PM received PM Modi himself. Waving Indian and Bhutanese flags, people lined up along the route from Paro to the capital city Thimphu. PM Modi is on a two-day visit to Bhutan.
This is PM Modi's second visit to the Himalayan nation. In 2014, after winning the Lok Sabha election, Bhutan was the first country Modi visited.
“On his (Modi) first visit to Bhutan, I remember him saying that Bhutan and India are close not because we have open borders, but because we have opened our hearts to each other. Your visit this time shows how much you meant it,” Bhutanese PM Tshering.
On the first day of PM Modi's visit, the two neighbouring nations signed 10 Memoranda of Understandings (MoU) in the field of space research, aviation, IT, power and education. Here's are quick highlights of the day:
1. PM Modi inaugurated Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant, to commemorate five decades of India-Bhutan Hydropower cooperation on the first day. India is the largest buyer of Bhutanese hydropower.
2. Indian and Bhutanese PMs jointly inaugurated the Ground Earth Station and SATCOM network, developed with assistance from ISRO for utilization of South Asia Satellite in Bhutan. Modi ensured to facilitate Bhutan’s development through the use of space technology and India will enhance the communication, public broadcasting and disaster management coverage in Bhutan.
3. Committed to increasing the currency swap limit for Bhutan under the SAARC currency swap framework, Modi also launched RuPay Card in Bhutan by making a purchase at Simtokha Dzong.
“I am very happy that today we have launched RuPay card in Bhutan. This will further enhance our relationship in digital payments, and trade and tourism. Our shared spiritual heritage and strong people-to-people relationship are key of our relations,” PM Modi said.
4. Both prime ministers unveiled e-plaque of the interconnection between India’s National Knowledge Network and Bhutan’s Druk Research and Education Network.
“It is a privilege for India to be a major partner in the development of Bhutan. India’s cooperation in Bhutan’s five-year plans will continue,” Modi said.
Modi also said the collaboration and relationship between Royal Bhutan University and IITs of India and some other top educational institutions are in line with today’s requirements for education and technology.
“I believe that India and Bhutan will remain a unique model of relations between two countries in the world,” he said.
ALSO READ | PM Modi recieves grand welcome in Bhutan