Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay met with Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India at the Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expected to visit Bhutan on 21st March

Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India will visit Bhutan on 21st March till 22nd March.

The Prime Minister of India shared on the social media platform “X” that he engaged in fruitful discussions covering diverse aspects of the unique and special partnership between the two nations. He expressed gratitude to His Majesty and Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay for extending an invitation to Bhutan for the upcoming week.

As per The Print, an Indian newspaper, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Bhutan on March 21st and depart on March 22nd.

This will be the Indian Prime Minister’s third visit to Bhutan with the two previous visits in 2014 and 2019.

The 2014 visit was Prime Minister Modi’s first foreign destination visit and signaled the ‘Neighborhood First’ policy of the Modi government.

On March 14th, Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay held a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi.

On the same day, the Prime Minister also met with Dr. S. Jaishankar, the External Affairs Minister, Mr. J P Nadda, the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and Mr. Vinay Mohan Kwatra, the Foreign Secretary of the Government of India (GoI).

This visit highlights the strong friendship between Bhutan and India, as stated by Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, GoI.

As per reports from The Hindu, Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay is set to visit Mumbai following his engagements in Delhi, where he will engage with business leaders. The discussions are expected to focus on bolstering bilateral trade, enhancing investment in infrastructure projects, and Bhutan’s ambitious plans for a mega “Gelephu Mindfulness City” along its southern border with Assam.

Ahead of the Prime Ministers visit to Delhi, the Indian cabinet approved two agreements on Wednesday.

The first agreement is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency and Bhutan’s Department of Energy, focusing on collaboration in energy conservation and the standardization of climate change mechanisms.

Additionally, the cabinet approved an agreement between the Bhutan Food and Drug Authority (BFDA) and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to enhance cooperation in food safety, thereby facilitating increased trade between the two nations.

During his second day in Delhi, Lyonchhen paid a visit to the President of the Republic of India,  Droupadi Murmi, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Additionally, the Prime Minister and his delegation visited the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial at Raj Ghat to pay homage, offering prayers and laying a wreath in memory of the esteemed leader’s lasting legacy.

This marks the Prime Minister’s first international visit since assuming office this year, embarking on a four-day journey to India.

The Prime Minister’s four-day visit to India is accompanied by high officials from the Royal Government, including Foreign and External Affairs Minister DN Dungyel, Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Gem Tshering, Minister for Industry, Commerce, and Employment Namgyal Dorji, along with other senior officials.

Though not mentioned yet an important item on the agenda will be seeking India’s assistance for Bhutan’s 13th Plan and also the Nu 15 bn ESP.

Hydropower Cooperation, Gelephu Mindfulness City, Transport connectivity and Trade will also be important agendas.

In a joint statement Prime Minister Modi conveyed that India remains committed to partner with Bhutan in its quest to become a high-income nation in consonance with the vision of His Majesty the King and the priorities of the people and the Royal Government of Bhutan.

Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s commitment to step up support for Bhutan’s 13th FYP including to consider request for the Economic Stimulus Program. India’s development assistance will be geared towards the development of infrastructure, building connectivity in its broadest form which includes road, rail, air and digital connectivity, and in sectors like agriculture, healthcare, education, skilling and cultural preservation.

Prime Minister Modi appreciated His Majesty’s vision of the Gelephu Mindfulness City, which will lead to economic prosperity and development in Bhutan and in the region in a sustainable manner, and further strengthen economic and investment linkages between India and Bhutan.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay conveyed the deep appreciation of the people and the Royal Government of Bhutan to the people and Government of India for India’s continued support to Bhutan’s economic development. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shared his assessment of the Royal Government of Bhutan’s priorities.

Hydro-power cooperation has been an important pillar of India-Bhutan bilateral economic partnership. Both Prime Ministers reiterated their firm commitment to expanding hydro-power cooperation and directed their officials to hold expeditious consultations on implementation modalities for new projects.

The two sides expressed satisfaction with the progress in construction of the 1020 MW Punatshangchhu-II hydro power project and looked forward to its commissioning in 2024. They noted with satisfaction the progress made towards finding a technically safe and cost-effective way forward on the Punatsangchhu-I hydro power project.

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