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March 23, 2024

India and Bhutan Strengthen Bilateral Ties, Sign Key Agreements and MoUs

In a significant move to bolster their longstanding bilateral relations, India and Bhutan have inked several pacts and finalized a crucial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish rail links between the two nations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his two-day state visit to Bhutan, reaffirmed India’s commitment to supporting Bhutan’s development endeavors, underlining the depth and significance of the unique friendship between the two countries.

As part of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy, Prime Minister Modi assured Bhutan’s leadership of India’s unwavering support in the Himalayan kingdom’s pursuit of development across various sectors including connectivity, infrastructure, trade, and energy. He announced a substantial support package of Rs 10,000 crore over the next five years to bolster Bhutan’s economic growth and infrastructure development.

During the visit, both countries exchanged several MoUs and signed agreements spanning diverse fields such as energy, trade, digital connectivity, space, and agriculture, demonstrating the commitment to enhance cooperation and mutual benefits. The finalized MoU on rail links signifies a significant milestone in fostering physical connectivity and facilitating smoother transportation between India and Bhutan.

Prime Minister Modi held constructive discussions with Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, focusing on strengthening the multifaceted relationship between the two nations. Emphasizing the historical and contemporary dimensions of India-Bhutan ties, Modi highlighted the ‘B2B’ (Bharat to Bhutan) and ‘P2P’ (people to people) connections, signifying the deep-rooted and people-centric nature of the relationship.

Acknowledging the exemplary friendship between the two countries, both Prime Ministers expressed their commitment to further enhancing bilateral ties for mutual benefit and regional stability. Modi reiterated India’s support for Bhutan’s 13th Five-Year Plan, pledging assistance in various sectors including infrastructure, healthcare, education, and cultural preservation.

Addressing the audience in Bhutan, Prime Minister Modi lauded the country’s commitment to promoting innovation and inner joy, encapsulated in the concept of ‘Gross National Happiness’. He expressed confidence that Bhutan’s endeavors, particularly the development of the ‘Mindfulness City’, would serve as an inspiration globally.

The visit witnessed moments of warmth and camaraderie between the people of Bhutan and India, symbolizing the enduring bond between the two nations. Prime Minister Modi’s assertion of the inseparable ties, unwavering friendship, and mutual cooperation resonated with the audience, further cementing the foundation of India-Bhutan relations.

In conclusion, India and Bhutan’s recent engagement reaffirms the shared commitment to deepening cooperation and fostering mutual prosperity. The exchange of agreements and the finalization of the rail links MoU mark significant steps towards enhancing connectivity and realizing the shared aspirations of both nations for sustainable development and regional integration.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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