Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotay Tshering, before a meeting in Thimphu, Bhutan on Saturday.
India, Bhutan sign 10 MoUs
Modi also launches RuPay Card in Bhutan
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi received a red-carpet welcome as he arrived in Bhutan on Saturday on a two-day state visit. This is Modi’s second visit to Bhutan and the first since his re-election. Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering received Modi at the airport. Modi was given a red-carpet welcome after his arrival here. “I am extremely grateful to @PMBhutan for welcoming me at the airport. His gesture is deeply touching,” Modi tweeted.
“A memorable welcome in Bhutan! This is a land blessed with natural beauty and wonderful people. There is immense enthusiasm here and the people of Bhutan want to see the India-Bhutan friendship scale newer heights of success,” the Prime Minister said. Waving the Indian tricolour and the Bhutanese flags, people lined up along the route from Paro to the capital city Thimphu to welcome Prime Minister Modi. Modi inspected a guard of honour during his ceremonial welcome at Tashichhodzong Palace here. Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Tshering held wide ranging talks during which they discussed steps to further expand the bilateral partnership across several sectors as the two nations signed 10 MoUs to infuse new energy in their ties.
“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,” Prime Minister Modi said. Modi inaugurated Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant and also launched stamps to commemorate five decades of India-Bhutan Hydropower cooperation.
“I am very happy to come to Bhutan at the beginning of my second term,” Modi said in a joint press statement after delegation-level talks with his Bhutanese counterpart at the historic Simtokha Dzong. The two countries signed 10 Memorandum of Understandings in the field of space research, aviation, IT, power and education. Modi also launched RuPay Card in Bhutan by making a purchase at Simtokha Dzong, built in 1629 by Shabdrung Namgyal, which functions as a monastic and administrative centre and is one of the oldest dzongs in Bhutan. “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,” Prime Minister Modi said. On increasing the currency swap limit for Bhutan under the SAARC currency swap framework, Modi said India’s approach is “positive”. He said an additional USD 100 million will be available to Bhutan under a standby swap arrangement to meet the foreign exchange requirement. The two leaders also 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,” he said. The two leaders jointly inaugurated the Ground Earth Station and SATCOM network, developed with assistance from ISRO for utilisation of South Asia Satellite in Bhutan.