The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi made a State Visit to Bhutan on August 17-18, 2019, at the invitation of Prime Minister of Bhutan Dr. Lotay Tshering. He was on his second visit to Bhutan and the first since his re-election as the Prime Minister (PM) of India.
Prime Minister Modi arrived at the Paro International Airport where he was received by his Bhutanese counterpart Dr. Lotay Tshering.
Guard Of Honour
Prime Minister Modi received a guard of honour at the Tashichhoedzong Palace, Thimphu, Bhutan. There was a traditional Chipdrel procession and a welcome ceremony.
Inauguration of Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Power Plant
- PM inaugurated the Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant, one of the major projects under Bhutan’s initiative to generate 10,000 MW (Megawatt) hydropower by 2020 with the Indian government’s support. It is estimated to generate 2,923 GWh (Gigawatt Hour) of electricity.
- The project was funded by India through a 70% loan and 30% grant. It is a 720MW run-of-river power plant built on the Mangdechhu River in Trongsa Dzongkhag district of central Bhutan.
- The cost of the hydroelectric plant project is Rs 4,500-crore.
- It was developed by the Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority (MHPA), which was jointly constituted by the Indian and the Bhutanese governments.
Launch of stamps
The prime ministers of India & Bhutan jointly launched stamps to commemorate 5 decades of India-Bhutan Hydropower cooperation.
Both leaders jointly inaugurated the Ground Earth Station and SATCOM network, developed with assistance from Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for utilization of South Asia Satellite in Bhutan.
RuPay in Bhutan
- PM launched RuPay Card in Bhutan by making a purchase at Simtokha Dzong which functions as a monastic and administrative centre and is one of the oldest dzongs in Bhutan.
- On increasing the currency swap limit for Bhutan under the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) currency swap framework, PM said India’s approach is “positive”, adding that an additional $100 million will be available to Bhutan under a standby swap arrangement to meet the foreign exchange requirement.
The two leaders unveiled e-plaque of the interconnection between India’s National Knowledge Network and Bhutan’s Druk Research and Education Network.
9 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and 1 power purchase agreement were exchanged between India and Bhutan in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Dr. Lotay Tshering at the Semtokha Dzong, Bhutan.
|Sl No||Name of the MoU/Agreement||Signatories from Indian Side||Signatories from Bhutanese Side|
|1||MoU between ISRO of the Government of the Republic of India and Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT) of the Royal Government of Bhutan on the establishment of SATCOM Network for the Utilization of South Asia Satellite||Director, SATCOM-PO, ISRO HQ, Department of Space||Director, DITT, Ministry of Information and Communications|
|2||MoU between the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU), Ministry of Information and Communications, Royal Government of Bhutan, and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Republic of India on cooperation Relating to Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation||Mr. Aurobindo Handa, Director-General, Aircraft Accident and Investigation Bureau (AAIB), Ministry of Civil Aviation||Mr. Pemba Wangchuk, Acting Secretary, Ministry of Information & Communications|
|3||MoU between National Knowledge Network of India (NKN), National Information Center, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and Department of Information Technology & Telecom Druk Research and Education Network on Peering Agreement||R.S. Mani, Project Director, National Knowledge Network||Mr. Jigme Tenzin, Director, DITT, Ministry of Information & Communications|
|4||Power Purchase Agreement Between PTC India Limited and Druk Green Power Corporation Limited for Sale and Purchase of Mangdechhu Power||Deepak Amitabh, Chairman and Managing Director, PTC India Limited||Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, Managing Director, Druk Green Power Corporation Limited|
|5||MoU between Bhutan National Legal Institute and National Judicial Academy, Bhopal, on cooperation in Judicial Education and Mutual Exchanges||Ms. Ruchira Kamboj, Ambassador of India to Bhutan||Hon. Mr. Judge Lobzang Rinzin Yargay, Director-General, Bhutan National Legal Institute|
|6||MoU between Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, Thimphu, Bhutan, and National Law School of India University, Bangalore, India, on enhancing relations between the two parties and seeking to develop academic and cultural interchange in the areas of legal education and research||Prof. (Dr.) MK Ramesh, Vice Chancellor (FAC)||Mr. Sangay Dorjee, Dean, Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law|
|7||MoU between the Royal University of Bhutan and Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur to focus on STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)||Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director, Institute of Technology, Kanpur||Mr. Nidup Dorji, Vice Chancellor, Royal University of Bhutan|
|8||MoU between the Royal University of Bhutan and Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay to focus on STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)||Prof. Subhasis Chaudhari, Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay||Mr. Nidup Dorji, Vice Chancellor, Royal University of Bhutan|
|9||MoU between the Royal University of Bhutan and National Institute of Technology, Silchar to focus on STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)||Sivaji Bandyopadhyay, Director, National Institute of Technology, Silchar||Mr. Nidup Dorji, Vice Chancellor, Royal University of Bhutan|
|10||MoU between the Royal University of Bhutan and Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi to focus on STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)||Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi||Mr. Nidup Dorji, Vice Chancellor, Royal University of Bhutan|
PM planted sapling at Bhutan’s historic Simtoka Dzong
PM planted a Cypress tree sapling at the historic Simtoka Dzong in the presence of his Bhutanese counterpart Dr Lotay Tshering. Simtoka Dzong is one of the oldest fortress in the Himalayan nation and functions as a monastic and administrative centre. It was built in 1629 by Shabdrung Namgyal, a Tibetan Buddhist lama who is regarded as the unifier of Bhutan as a nation-state. PM met a group of monks and prayed at the Simtokha Dzong in Semtokha.
- According to the PM, India-Bhutan partnership is of a special character and substance and forms an important pillar of Government of India’s Neighbourhood First policy.
- The two countries enjoy excellent bilateral ties exemplified by extensive development partnership, mutually beneficial hydro-power co-operation and strong trade and economic linkages.
- He addressed the students at Royal University of Bhutan, Thimphu. In his speech, he stated that India is home to the world’s largest health-care programme, Ayushman Bharat that offers health assurance to 500 million Indians. He emphasized that New Delhi and Thimphu are “natural partners” in bringing prosperity to their people.
- He visited the National Memorial Chorten, a revered monument honouring the late Third Druk Gyalpo.
- PM held wide-ranging talks with his Bhutanese counterpart Dr. Lotay Tshering and discussed steps to further expand the bilateral partnership across several sectors.
- PM called on Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and exchanged views on taking the exemplary India-Bhutan partnership forward.
- PM met Bhutan’s Leader of Opposition Pema Gyamtsho and the two leaders discussed the issues of bilateral interests.
♦ Capital: Thimphu
♦ Currency: Bhutanese Ngultrum
♦ Official language: Dzongkha or Bhutanese