Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s visit to Bhutan
People met: Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema in Tashichhodzong; Prime Minister Mr. Tshering Tobgay
Bhutan has been one of the most friendly neighbours of India. Be it the love for the Himalayas, cultural heritage or values, India and Bhutan have shared close ties for a very long time. Both the counries share ties in many areas like their foreign policy, defence and commerce. Government of India has always been keen to support the Himalayan Kingdom for its socio-economic development. According to the Prime Minister of India, India rejoices in Bhutan's remarkable economic growth and its progress and prosperity. The Prime Minister expressed India’s commitment to continuing our unstinted support to Bhutan in its development efforts.
The 2-day visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi June 15 - 16, 2014 further strengthened the ties between the two countries. On his arrival, while raising a toast for peace, prosperity and progress of India, Shri Modi said, “India is associated with the progress and happiness of Bhutan and will continue to do so. The two countries are made for each other. The colour of our passports may vary, but our heritage and values remain the same”. He was addressing the Royal banquet in Thimphu.
Shri Modi received a grand welcome by thousands of students and teachers on his arrival in Thimphu. “Touched by welcome song sung by primary school students” he tweeted.
Touched by welcome song sung by primary school students during the luncheon hosted by His Majesty the King of Bhutan pic.twitter.com/Jl6Kkg4RDl — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 16, 2014
The Indian Prime Minister inaugurated the Supreme Court building of Bhutan, which was build after receiving funding from the Indian government.
Shri Modi also called on Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema. He was accompanied by External Affairs Minister Ms. Sushma Swaraj, National security advisor Mr. Ajit Doval and Foreign secretary Ms. Sujatha Singh.
His visit was seen as a great step towards better relationship between the two nations. Welcoming Shri Modi, Bhutanese PM Tshering Tobgay said “He is a friendly person and obviously very knowledgeable and well disposed towards Bhutan. He holds our kings in very high esteem. He is very aware of the details of the India-Bhutan relationship and overall gives a sense of purpose and hope." He tweeted, “PM@narendramodi visit a success: All thanks to the blessings of our Guardian Deities; leadership of our Kings; good fortune of our People.
PM@narendramodi visit a success: All thanks to the blessings of our Guardian Deities; leadership of our Kings; good fortune of our People. — Tshering Tobgay (@tsheringtobgay) June 16, 2014
“This was a great message for the nation, and it is very good for our foreign policy,” said Mr. Kiren Rijiju (MoS, Home). Mr. Kinley Dorji , Secretary, Ministry of Information & Communication said, “There is a lot of excitement. This visit is history.”
Bhutanese make an exception for Modi
During his visit, the Indian Prime Minister addressed a Joint Session of the Parliament of Bhutan. And exceptional address was well received by the people of Bhutan. Although people of Bhutan do not clap as a congratulatory gesture, they made an exception for Prime Minister Modi. They believe that clapping is done only to ward off evil spirits. But on Monday they clapped after a rousing speech by Shri. Modi at the joint session of Bhutanese parliament.
Bhutan a Natural Choice for My First Foreign Visit: PM Narendra Modi
On the eve of his visit, Shri Modi explained why he chose Bhutan as the country of his first foreign visit. He said Bhutan was a "natural choice" as his first foreign destination due to the "unique and special relationship" the two countries share.
"Bound by common interests and shared prosperity, India and Bhutan enjoy a unique and special relationship which has been forged by ties of geography, history and culture. Therefore, Bhutan as the destination for my first visit abroad as Prime Minister is a natural choice", the PM said.
According to him, hydropower cooperation with Bhutan "is a classic example of win-win cooperation and a model for the entire region". During the visit, he also laid the foundation stone of the 600 MW Kholongchu hydropower project. "Bhutan & India share a very special relationship that has stood the test of time. Thus, Bhutan was a natural choice for my 1st visit abroad."
Bhutan & India share a very special relationship that has stood the test of time. Thus, Bhutan was a natural choice for my 1st visit abroad. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 14, 2014
It is to be noted that, the Bhutanese Prime Minister was one of seven regional leaders invited to Modi's inauguration.
Key points of Modi's visit to the Himalayan nation
- The two nations reiterated their commitment to achieving the 10,000 MW target in hydropower cooperation.
- Inaugural of the Supreme Court of Bhutan and foundation stone lay of the 600MW Kholongchu Hydro-electric project, a joint venture between India and Bhutan.
- Indian Prime Minister announced numerous measures and concessions including the exemption of Bhutan from any ban on export of milk powder, wheat, edible oil, pulses and non-basmati rice.
- Both the nations discussed free trade arrangement between them and expansion of bilateral trade.
- Prime Minister also stressed on the idea of an annual hill sports festival with India's north-eastern states along with Bhutan and Nepal.
- Shri Modi announced doubling of scholarships being provided to Bhutanese students in India (now to the tune of INR 2 crores).
- India will also assist Bhutan set up a digital library which will provide access to Bhutanese youth to two million books and periodicals.
- Prime Minister also highlighted the need to have B2B ties in Bhutan. He declared expansion of bilateral ties or as he termed it “Bharat to Bhutan relations”
- Shri Modi referred to Bhutan's unique trait of laying thrust on ‘Gross National Happiness’ rather than Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and said one of the parameters for measuring this could be the consideration that it has a "neighbour like India".
Source - http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/10-key-points-of-PM-Narendra-Modis-Bhutan-visit/articleshow/36663977.cms http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pm-narendra-modi-arrives-to-a-grand-welcome-in-bhutan/article1-1229665.aspx
Prime Minister received a ceremonial welcome on his arrival. (PTI Photo)