The upcoming visit of the newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bhutan will be a historic visit said Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay during a press conference yesterday.
The Indian Prime Minister will be in Bhutan for a two day visit from June 15 to 16. This is his first foreign visit after becoming Prime Minister.
“The fact that Indian PM has chosen Bhutan as his first visit oversea is an honor by itself. So Bhutan will use this opportunity to further strength the already close ties of friendship,” the PM said.
Upon asking what issues will be discussed with the Indian Prime Minister, Lyonchhen said they will also discuss business
and talk about the 11th five year plan, the ongoing hydro power projects, economic stimulus plan, reflect on past successes and then work towards the future.
“But as of now we don’t see any specific issue because we don’t have any outstanding issues to resolve. As far as we are concerned, the main agenda is to further cement our already strong ties of friendship,” Lyonchhen said.
The choice was largely between Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, although Afghanistan also came up for discussion according to the Indian Express paper in Delhi.
An Indian official team will be coming to capital today to set up the visit and work out the relevant logistics.
“The entire world is watching, not just the SAARC region. We are extremely happy and proud of the fact that PM Modi has chosen Bhutan, as his first country, which speaks volumes for the importance he attaches to the region but more importantly he attaches to the friendship between the two great countries,” the PM added.
The PM said that the two countries have enjoyed an extremely a cordial relationship and the friendship between the two countries is considered as an exemplary model and yet with the Indian PM’s visit to Bhutan, the two countries can strengthen the ties of friendship even more.
The PM expressed his gratitude to His Majesty the King for inviting PM Narendra Modi.
“The Indian people and the Indian government and PM Modi, hold His Majesty, the King in high esteem and his visit here is indicative of the esteem they hold of the Royal family and particular HM the King,” PM Tshering Tobgay said.
According to the Indian Express, the decision was taken over the past few days during which Modi’s tour calendar was worked out. The Indian PM, made it known that he would want to begin his visits from the neighborhood, both to reach out to them and as well as a policy priority.
Addressing the media during the press conference, the PM said a high level committee was formed, who will be organizing the visit in Bhutan.
In response to a question of media access by local media the PM said, “We have to make sure, all aspects of the visit including security and media are covered adequately. When it comes to the media, we need to consult with our counterparts, as there is a security aspect. We have to provide adequate security that is the first priority after which access to media is also high priority, but obviously not on the expense of security. We will work closely with Bhutanese private media in particular to ensure you have enough access to all the officials who are visiting.”
Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay was among the leaders from the neighboring countries to attend Modi’s swearing in on May 26. He had also extended an invitation to the Indian PM to visit Bhutan.
According to the Indian Express despite pressure from powerful countries, Thimphu has been conscious in not taking any decision inimical to Indian interest. It says China, for instance, has been trying hard to open a mission in Bhutan.