His Excellency, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, President of the Republic of India, will be on a State Visit to Bhutan from 7-8 November 2014 at the invitation of His Majesty the King. The President will be accompanied by Mr. Manoj Sinha, Minister of State of Railways, Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, member of the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Anil Shirole, Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey and Mr. Gaurav Gogoi, members of the Lok Sabha. Other members of the delegation include the Secretary to the President, Mrs. Omita Paul, Foreign Secretary, Mrs. Sujatha Singh and Joint Secretary (North), Mr. Abhay Thakur. The President will receive an audience with His Majesty the King on 7th November followed by a Luncheon by His Majesty at the Kuenry of the Tashichhodzong. His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo will also grant an audience to the President and host a luncheon on 8th November at the Dechechholing Palace. Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of Bhutan, will call on the President on 7th November 2014 evening.
During the visit, the President will deliver an address in the Convention Center to an invited audience comprising of Ministers, Parliamentarians, Senior Officials of the Royal Government and Prominent Citizens of Thimphu. The President will inaugurate the Jigme Wangchuck Power Training Institute located at Dekiling Sarbhang which has been constructed with the support of the Government of India. He will launch the Double Laning of the East-West Highway which is another Government of India-assisted project. He will also launch the School Reform Program and inaugurate the Yelchen Central School in Pema Gatsel. Both these are also Government of India-assisted projects.
During the visit, the following four Memoranda of Understanding will be signed: MoU on the establishment of Nalanda University between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bhutan and the Ministry of External Affairs of India; MoU between the Royal University of Bhutan and English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad; MoU between the Royal University of Bhutan and the National Innovation Foundation; and MoU between the Royal Civil Service Commission and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
This is President Mukherjee’s first visit to Bhutan as the President of India. He, however, has been to Bhutan several times in the past, in his various capacities in the Government of India. President Mukherjee is a close friend and well-wisher of Bhutan and has played a crucial role in the promotion of relations between Bhutan and India over many decades. His visit comes four months after the State Visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2014. The two highest level visits from India within a short span are a reflection of the special ties of friendship and cooperation that exist between Bhutan and India and are in keeping with the long tradition of exchange of visits between the two countries.