Reinforcing his government’s Neighbourhood First policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Bhutan, the energy-rich Himalayan state that is undergoing rapid transformation, on August 17-18, which will further bolster energy and development ties between the two countries.
“The visit reflects the high priority that the Government of India attaches to its relations with Bhutan, India’s trusted friend and neighbour,” said India’s external affairs ministry in a statement. “Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Bhutan, very early in his second term, is in line with the Government of India’s continued emphasis on its Neighbourhood First Policy,” said the ministry.
During his visit, Mr Modi will he will hold delegation-level talks with his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering and will call on Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
Ahead of the visit, India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale underlined that the visit will focus on strengthening energy and development cooperation between the two countries. The highlight of the visit will be the inauguration of the Mangdechhu hydropower project, Mr Gokhale told journalists in New Delhi ahead of the visit.
In December last year, India had committed Rs 5,000 crore development assistance to Bhutan’s 12th five-year plan and the first tranche of that has been released, Mr Gokhale said.
Mr Modi’s Bhutan itinerary will include an address at the Royal University of Bhutan. The King and Queen of Bhutan will host a lunch in the honour of the Indian leader.
“The visit will reaffirm exemplary all-weather friendship between India and Bhutan. The decision to visit Bhutan within less than three months of his second term, soon after his trip to the Maldives, underscores the primacy of immediate neighbourhood in the Modi 2.0 government’s foreign policy calculus,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief of India and World magazine and India Writes Network.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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