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Joint Statement on the Official visit of Prime Minister of Bhutan Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay to India

India-Bhutan Partnership for Shared Prosperity

 

At the invitation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Bhutan H.E. Tshering Tobgay accompanied by his wife H.E. Tashi Doma is on an official visit to India from 14-18 March 2024. This is Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay’s first overseas visit after assuming office in January 2024.

 

  1. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay is accompanied by Lyonpo D.N. Dhungyel, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Lyonpo Gem Tshering, Minister for Energy and Natural Resources, Lyonpo Namgyal Dorji, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Employment as well as senior officials from the Royal Government of Bhutan.

 

  1. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay called on the President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu and held discussions with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on the full spectrum of bilateral cooperation and regional issues of mutual interest. External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister of Power, New & Renewable Energy Shri R. K. Singh and National Security Advisor Shri Ajit Doval called on Prime Minister of Bhutan.

 

  1. The two Prime Ministers acknowledged that the exemplary ties of friendship between India and Bhutan are a source of strength for both partners and the region. Recalling His Majesty’s official visits to India in April and November 2023, both sides reaffirmed their resolve to further strengthen the long-standing and exceptional bilateral ties that exist between the two countries.

 

  1. Prime Minister Modi congratulated the people and the Royal Government of Bhutan for the successful implementation of the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP), notwithstanding challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as for Bhutan’s graduation from the Least Developed Countries in December 2023. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay thanked the Government of India for its development assistance of INR 5000 crores to Bhutan’s 12th FYP, which has immensely contributed to the socio-economic well-being of the people of Bhutan.

 

  1. Prime Minister Modi conveyed that India remains committed to partner with Bhutan in its quest to become a high-income nation in consonance with the vision of His Majesty the King and the priorities of the people and the Royal Government of Bhutan.

 

  1. Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s commitment to step up support for Bhutan’s 13th FYP including to consider request for the Economic Stimulus Program. India’s development assistance will be geared towards the development of infrastructure, building connectivity in its broadest form which includes road, rail, air and digital connectivity, and in sectors like agriculture, healthcare, education, skilling and cultural preservation.

 

  1. Prime Minister Modi appreciated His Majesty’s vision of the Gelephu Mindfulness City, which will lead to economic prosperity and development in Bhutan and in the region in a sustainable manner, and further strengthen economic and investment linkages between India and Bhutan.

 

  1. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay conveyed the deep appreciation of the people and the Royal Government of Bhutan to the people and Government of India for India’s continued support to Bhutan’s economic development. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shared his assessment of the Royal Government of Bhutan’s priorities.

 

  1. Hydro-power cooperation has been an important pillar of India-Bhutan bilateral economic partnership. Both Prime Ministers reiterated their firm commitment to expanding hydro-power cooperation and directed their officials to hold expeditious consultations on implementation modalities for new projects.

 

  1. The two sides expressed satisfaction with the progress in construction of the 1020 MW Punatshangchhu-II hydro power project and looked forward to its commissioning in 2024. They noted with satisfaction the progress made towards finding a technically safe and cost-effective way forward on the Punatsangchhu-I hydro power project.

 

  1. Both Prime Ministers agreed to expand the existing India-Bhutan energy partnership to non-hydro renewables, such as solar and wind as well as green initiatives for hydrogen and e-mobility besides energy efficiency and conservation measures. The two sides reaffirmed the significance of cooperating closely in the energy sector.

 

  1. Both sides welcomed the signing of the MoU on the Concessionary Financing of INR 1500 crores to the Royal Government of Bhutan for GyalSung- Bhutan’s National Service Program initiated by His Majesty the King for skilling and leadership development of the youth of Bhutan.

 

  1. Both sides lauded the partnership between India and Bhutan in the space technology sector, including recent initiatives such as the technical capacity-building on remote sensing technology organised by the Indian Space Research Organisation for the Royal Government of Bhutan. Both sides welcomed the development of the Joint Plan of Action on Space Cooperation.

 

  1. Both sides welcomed measures to enhance connectivity between India and Bhutan, including the development of rail and road connectivity and the upgradation of trade infrastructure for the seamless movement of people and goods. The sides noted with satisfaction the progress on opening of additional points for immigration and trading routes.

 

  1. The two sides noted the progress towards establishment of two rail-links Banarhat (West Bengal) – Samtse (Bhutan) and Kokrajhar (Assam) – Gelephu (Bhutan). Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is undertaking the Final Location Survey (FLS) of the two rail-links in consultation with the Bhutanese side.

 

  1. Both sides reaffirmed their desire to continue strengthening the positive collaboration between India and Bhutan in new and emerging areas such as digital technology, start-ups and STEM.

 

  1. The Bhutanese side appreciated Government of India’s support to the development of sports infrastructure in Bhutan. Both sides agreed to strengthen and consolidate ties in the field of youth and sports development.

 

  1. Both sides noted the contribution of Indian teachers for strengthening STEM pedagogy in Bhutan. Both sides agreed that they will expand India-Bhutan partnership in education sector, thereby strengthening the vibrant people to people relations that are at the heart of the India-Bhutan friendship.

 

  1. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay thanked Prime Minister Shri Modi for the warm reception accorded to him and his delegation. Recalling the unique civilisational and historical ties of friendship, he reiterated his government’s commitment to working with the Government of India to strengthen bilateral ties.

 

  1. The India-Bhutan partnership is characterized by utmost trust, goodwill, and mutual understanding at all levels and is reinforced by robust people to people linkages and close economic and development partnership. The visit of Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay reinforced the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between India and Bhutan.

 

  1. On behalf of His Majesty The King of Bhutan, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to visit Bhutan at an early date. Prime Minister Modi accepted the invitation.

 

  1. From Delhi, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay will be traveling to Mumbai where he will meet the Governor of Maharashtra and Indian business leaders.

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