On December 29, 2018, Prime Minister of Bhutan,Lyonchhen Dr. Lotay Tshering concluded his 3-day visit to India. His visit commenced from December 27, 2018.
- This was Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering’s first overseas visit after assuming the office in November 2018.
- This was also the Golden Jubilee year of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan.
- He visited India on the invitation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi along with Lyonpo Dr. Tandi Dorji, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lyonpo Loknath Sharma, Minister for Economic Affairs and senior officials from the Royal Government of Bhutan.
Meeting with PM Narendra Modi:
On December 27, 2018, a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering was held in New Delhi.
i. The Two PMs discussed on the following topics:
- A number of institutional mechanisms between India and Bhutan in areas like security, border management, trade, economy, hydroelectricity, development cooperation and water resources were discussed.
- Government of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy to enhance development and economic prosperity based on the priorities of the people and the Royal Government of Bhutan. This will work alongside PM Tshering’s vision of “Narrowing the Gap” on ties between India and Bhutan.
- They acknowledged the implementation of the 11th Five Year Plan including development projects undertaken with GoI assistance.
- Government of India’s development assistance package for Bhutan’s 12th Five Year Plan for the period 1 November 2018 to 31 October 2023.
- Under this, India will provide grant assistance of INR 4500 Crore towards Bhutan’s 12th Five Year Plan, and a transitional Trade Support Facility of INR 400 Crore over a period of five years to strengthen bilateral trade and economic linkages.
- Both the parties to jointly develop 10,000 MWs of hydropower generating capacity in Bhutan.
- Discussed about the progress of the 720 MW Mangdechhu hydro-power project and the 2560 MW Sankosh Hydropower Project in Bhutan,
- Both parties discussed space science as a new area of cooperation between the two countries. Under this, a ground station will be developed in Bhutan by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- Bhutan will soon launch the RuPay cards.
ii. Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering extended an invitation to Prime Minister Shri Modi to visit Bhutan at the earliest convenience.
New Delhi has set up three hydroelectric projects in Bhutan with a total capacity of 1,416 MW, which are operational. About three-fourth of the power generated is exported to India and the rest is used for domestic consumption.
Meeting with the President:
On December 29, 2018, Dr Lotay Tshering, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan, called on the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
- The President reiterated India’s commitment to partner in the socio-economic development of Bhutan and to support its 12th Five Year Plan based on its priorities.
- On December 29, 2018, Dr Lotay Tshering, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan, met the External Affairs Minister of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj.
- The PM of Bhutan also met Congress President Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.
- The two discussed about political situation in the region and other matters of common interest.
♦ Capital: Thimphu.
♦ Currency: Bhutanese ngultrum.