Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi promised a contribution of $45 billion (Rs 4500 cr) for Bhutan’s 12th five-year economic plan during Bhutanese Prime Minister, Lotay Tshering’s State visit to India
On Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s invitation, the Bhutanese Prime Minister, Lotay Tshering is presently in India for a state visit. According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, this year marks “the golden jubilee year” for India-Bhutan diplomatic relations.
Post the Bhutanese PM’s arrival on December 27, India’s PM announced on Friday that India will make a contribution of $45 billion for Bhutan’s 12th five year economic plan. The plan started this year and will last till 2022. The announcement came soon after a meeting between the two leaders. Indian Prime Minister further revealed the establishment of a transitional Trade Support Facility for strengthening trade and economic ties. The facility is estimated to cost $4 billion over five years.
Indian PM thanked Prime Minister Tshering for introducing India’s debit/credit card payment network, RuPay in Bhutan. While Bhutanese PM said, “We are very very happy that PM Modi ji has personally committed to be with us, to support us” adding that the India has extended support to Bhutanese “traders who are being affected by the GST that has come into action in India”.
Referring to the Mangdechhu project, an India-supported hydropower project in Bhutan, Prime Minister Modi asserted, “Today, we discussed this crucial sector and reviewed cooperation on all the major projects. Work on the Mangdechhu project will be completed soon. We have agreed on the tariff for this project. Work on other projects has been happening at a very satisfactory pace.”
Responding to this, Bhutanese PM said, “We are very happy that the government of India is fully committed to support whatever negotiations that are going on for determining tariff for power from Mangdechhu project” adding that India had further extended support for the upcoming Sankosh hydropower project.
The ongoing visit to India marks the first official overseas visit by the Bhutanese PM, who assumed office in November this year. He was accompanied by Bhutanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Economic Affairs, and other senior officials. During his visit, Prime Minister Tshering was also called on the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind.
Bhutan is an important strategic partner for India, holding a strategically important location between India and China.