Bhutan rolls out red carpet for ‘elder brother’ Modi

THIMPHU/NEW DELHI: Bhutan has rolled out the red-carpet welcome for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he began his nearly twenty-four-hour visit to the Himalayan state, which is expected to place India-Bhutan ties on a higher trajectory.

In a special gesture, Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay welcomed the Indian leader by putting his arms around him as Mr Modi was accorded a colourful ceremonial welcome.

PM Modi took to X expressing gratitude, “Thank you for the warm welcome to Bhutan, PM Tshering Tobgay. May India-Bhutan friendship keep scaling new heights.”

PM Modi’s ceremonial reception sets the stage for a series of high-level engagements during his stay. Among these are his meetings with His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the reigning monarch, and His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the revered Fourth King of Bhutan.

PM Tobgay wrote a welcome message in Hindi on X, invoking strong cultural ties and a bond that transcends diplomatic gestures, “भूटान में आपका स्वागत है, मेरे बड़े भाई। (Welcome to Bhutan, my elder brother)”

Ahead of PM Modi’s visit, India’s Ministry of External Affairs described India-Bhutan ties as “a unique and enduring partnership which is rooted in mutual trust, understanding and goodwill. “The visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between India and Bhutan and the government’s emphasis on its ‘Neighbourhood First Policy,’” said the ministry.

The people of Bhutan lined up the entire stretch of road starting from the airport waiving Indian and Bhutanese flags. Bhutanese youngsters also dressed up in traditional Indian attire and performed to a song written by PM Modi to welcome him to their country.

“This is the first time an Indian prime minister is travelling overseas after the election schedule has been announced, which shows the importance India attaches to scaling up all-weather ties to Bhutan to new heights,” said Manish Chand, Director, Centre for Global India Insights, a think tank focused on global affairs. “The visit is animated by the larger geopolitical imperative of containing China’s increasing outreach to the Himalayan kingdom,” said Chand, while commenting on PM Modi’s visit to Bhutan.

PM Modi will be inaugurating the Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Mother and Child Hospital in Thimphu as a testament to India’s unwavering support for Bhutan’s socio-economic development. This state-of-the-art facility, constructed with Indian assistance, symbolizes the tangible outcomes of a long-standing friendship between the two nations.

The two countries signed a clutch of pacts on energy, petroleum, food safety, youth, and pharmaceuticals. Both parties have initiated the establishment of railway links between India and Bhutan boosting accessible mobility between the two. The two countries have also launched a Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) on space cooperation.

PM Modi’s visit to Thimphu is being closely tracked by Beijing, which has stepped up efforts to seal a boundary deal with  Thimphu, which could adversely impact India’s strategic interests As Bhutan navigates delicate border negotiations with Beijing, India will continue to remain a devoted ally of Thimphu, closely monitoring developments that could reshape the regional power dynamics. This visit serves as a potent reaffirmation of India’s unwavering support for Bhutan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, countering any attempts at coercion or undue influence from across the border.

(Deepakshi Bhardwaj contributed inputs for this article)

Author Profile

India Writes Network
India Writes Network
India Writes Network ( is an emerging think tank and a media-publishing company focused on international affairs & the India Story. Centre for Global India Insights is the research arm of India Writes Network. To subscribe to India and the World, write to A venture of TGII Media Private Limited, a leading media, publishing and consultancy company, IWN has carved a niche for balanced and exhaustive reporting and analysis of international affairs. Eminent personalities, politicians, diplomats, authors, strategy gurus and news-makers have contributed to India Writes Network, as also “India and the World,” a magazine focused on global affairs.