India on Friday assured Bhutan of its firm commitment to assist the Himalayan nation in its socio-economic development and to support its 12th Five Year Plan based on Bhutan’s priorities.
Welcoming Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay to India, President Ram Nath Kovind said India and Bhutan share an exemplary bilateral partnership. ‘’Our relations are unique and special. Our historical and cultural linkages make us natural friends,’’ he said.
The President said the government and people of India appreciate the vision of the Druk Gyalpos, which has guided relations between India and Bhutan. With the wisdom and foresight of the Monarchs of Bhutan and the Indian leadership, India-Bhutan relations have gone from strength to strength, he observed.
The President was happy to learn that the golden jubilee anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan is being celebrated in a manner befitting the special relationship between the two countries. He noted that 50 commemorative events have been planned both in India and Bhutan to mark the special year.
Earlier, the Bhutanese leader held wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on further strengthening the development partnership between the two countries.
“Good discussion on further strengthening cooperation in development partnership,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted following delegation-level talks led by the two leaders.
India attaches great significance to the ongoing visit of the Bhutanese leader in view of the fact that Bhutan had solidly stood by India during the military stand-off with China at Doklam last year.
India is a leading development aid partner for the Himalayan nation. Official sources said India was committed to assisting Bhutan in all spheres and this was once again conveyed by Modi to his counterpart. The relationship between India and Bhutan was based on shared perceptions, utmost trust, goodwill and understanding, Modi is understood to have stated during the talks.
There are a number of institutional mechanisms between India and Bhutan in areas like security, border management, trade, economy, hydro-electricity, 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.