India, Bhutan review bilateral ties

Nov 20, 2018
New Delhi: India and Bhutan reviewed all aspects of their bilateral ties during a three-day visit by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale to the Himalayan kingdom, the External Affairs Ministry said on Tuesday.

“In his interactions, Foreign Secretary conveyed that India attaches the highest priority to further expanding its unique ties of friendship and cooperation with Bhutan, based on the priorities of the Royal Government of Bhutan,” a Ministry statement said.

“The two sides discussed all aspects of bilateral relations, including high-level exchanges, economic and development cooperation, hydro-power cooperation, people-to-people ties, and commemorative activities being jointly organised in the Golden Jubilee year (of diplomatic ties).

“The two sides also shared their views on regional matters and other issues of mutual interest.”

During the course of his visit from November 18 to 20, Gokhale held a meeting with Bhutanese Foreign Secretary Sonam Tshong and called on Prime Minister Lotay Tshering and Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji.

He also had an audience with King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

Gokhale’s visit comes after the Himalayan nation elected a new government in October.

Prime Minister Tshering’s Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) party, formed in 2013, won 30 of the 47 National Assembly seats.

The country of 800,000 people, located between India and China, has chosen a different party to rule at each election since the end of absolute monarchy in 2008.

India is a leading development aid partner for Bhutan. There are a number of institutional mechanisms between India and Bhutan in areas like security, border management, trade, economy, hydroelectricity, development cooperation and water resources.

New Delhi has set up three hydroelectric projects in Bhutan with a total capacity of 1,416 MW, which are operational. About three-fourth of the power generated is exported to India and the rest is used for domestic consumption.

India is also Bhutan’s largest trading partner.

IANS