Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay returned home on September 4 after a six-day successful visit to India upon the invitation of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, his first foreign visit after assuming office as the Prime Minister of Bhutan. While the visit deepened the Bhutan-India relationship, India also reiterated its commitment, in terms of funds and other support, for Bhutan’s socio-economic development.
The government of India (GoI) has assured a total of INR 50bn to Bhutan in aids. At the government’s request, GoI will contribute INR 45bn towards Bhutan’s 11th Five Year Plan (FYP) and INR 5bn in addition to the government’s economic stimulus plan (ESP).
The importance of continued cooperation in developing hydro projects in Bhutan was also agreed upon. India recapped on its commitment to install an additional 10,000 MW of generating capacity.
A joint press release issued New Delhi states the two sides also expressed satisfaction at the progress in the three ongoing projects.
Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay thanked India for the support extended for Bhutan’s development and expressed keenness to strengthen people-to-people links.
India, on the other hand, expressed its satisfaction at being a privileged partner of Bhutan in its socio-economic development, and reassured the Lyonchhen of its commitment in capacity building in Bhutan.
“The two sides reaffirmed the trust and confidence between the two countries and their mutual security interests,” the press release stated.
Towards the end of his visit, Lyonchhen also flew to Hyderabad, where he met the governor ESL Narasimhan and the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy, at the Raj Bhavan. Lyonchhen visited an IT park and green business center in the city where he encouraged Indian companies to set up IT businesses and offices in Bhutan.
Any potential investments by Indian companies to rent space at the Thimphu TechPark will be of substantial advantage for the park that has failed to attract IT giants despite several plans and promises in the past few years.
While in India, Lyonchhen called on the President, Vice President and the Prime Minister of India. He also met with the finance minister, home minister, external affairs minister, the minister of state for power, the chairperson of UPA and the leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha.
All areas of mutual interest and cooperation were covered in Lyonchhen’s meeting with the Prime Minister of India.
After his arrival back, Lyonchhen also received an audience with His Majesty the King on September 5.
The foreign minister Rinzin Dorje described the visit as fruitful. He said the delegation led by Lyonchhen visited India with the objectives to further strengthen relations with India, and to finalize the budget for the 11th FYP which have been fulfilled.
Lyonchhen accompanied by his wife, foreign minister Rinzin Dorje and other senior officials.