Indo-Bhutan: Building a Strategic Alliance

Image of Bhutanese King presenting Prime Minister Modi with the highest civilian award 'Order of the Druk Gyalpo' during the strategic Indo-Bhutan alliance
Indo-Bhutan: Building a Strategic Alliance [Source: ABP News]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertook a consequential two-day state visit to Bhutan, underscoring the enduring ties between the two nations amidst regional dynamics. Here are the key highlights and outcomes of the visit:

Bilateral Engagements:

  • Prime Minister Modi engaged in substantive discussions with Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and paid respects to King Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck.
  • Both nations inked seven Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) spanning crucial sectors like petroleum, trade, digital connectivity, space, and agriculture.
  • An agreement to establish rail links between the two countries was initiated, marking a significant stride in their infrastructural collaboration.

Honors and Recognition:

  • In a historic moment, Prime Minister Modi was honored with Bhutan’s highest civilian award, the Order of the Druk Gyalpo, emphasizing the deep-seated camaraderie between India and Bhutan.

Security Cooperation:

  • India and Bhutan reaffirmed their commitment to mutual security cooperation, with a joint statement echoing their close coordination on matters vital to their national interests.
  • Bhutan's steadfast alignment with India's security concerns, particularly evident in its handling of boundary negotiations with China and the Doklam issue, further fortified bilateral trust.

Economic Collaborations:

  • Prime Minister Modi pledged India's unwavering support to Bhutan's developmental endeavors, emphasizing enhanced cooperation in trade, connectivity, and energy over the next five years.
  • Both nations vowed to intensify trade and investment linkages, especially through private sector involvement, aligning with Bhutan's aspirations for the Gelephu Special Administrative Region's development.

Financial Assistance:

  • India's commitment to Bhutan's progress was underscored by the announcement of doubling financial assistance to ₹10,000 crore for Bhutan's 13th Five Year Plan, highlighting the depth of their developmental partnership.

Gelephu Mindfulness City Project:

  • Bhutan's ambitious Gelephu Mindfulness City project, aimed at fostering economic growth along the Indo-Bhutan border, received India's wholehearted support, reflecting shared aspirations for regional prosperity.

Energy Security:

  • A joint vision statement on energy partnership underscored India and Bhutan's resolve to ensure energy security in the region, with a focus on expanding cooperation in hydropower, solar, and green hydrogen initiatives.

In essence, Prime Minister Modi's visit to Bhutan symbolized the enduring friendship and strategic partnership between India and Bhutan, rooted in shared values, mutual respect, and a vision for regional prosperity and security.

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