Ahead of Modi visit, Bhutan assures its territory won`t be used against India

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s two-day visit to Bhutan, his counterpart from the host country Tshering Tobgay took the opportunity to reassure India of the Himalayan nation`s cooperation on defence issues.

By Hemant Abhishek | Last Updated: Jun 14, 2014, 23:02 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Hemant Abhishek

New Delhi: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s two-day visit to Bhutan, his counterpart from the host country Tshering Tobgay took the opportunity to reassure India of the Himalayan nation`s cooperation on defence issues.
On the eve of Modi`s visit, Bhutan`s PM said this was a chance to celebrate the ties between the two countries and added, “We have to further strengthen this friendship.”

Tobgay assured that his county was very serious against terror camps. “Whatever terrorist outfits or camps were here have been dismantled. Since then none have entered Bhutan,” he said.

“Bhutanese territory won`t be used in any way against security interests of India,” he averred.

Modi has in the past made clear that Bhutan was an important part of India`s foreign policy, evident from the fact that this is his first trip abroad since he took over three weeks back.

PM Modi`s statement ahead of his trip to Bhutan

I will be visiting Bhutan from 15 to 16 June 2014 at the invitation of His Majesty the King and the Government of Bhutan.

Bound by common interests and shared prosperity, India and Bhutan enjoy a unique and special relationship, which has been forged by ties of geography, history and culture.

Therefore, Bhutan as the destination for my first visit abroad as Prime Minister is a natural choice. Relations with Bhutan will be a key foreign policy priority of my government.

During my visit, I will have the opportunity to hold detailed discussions with His Majesty the King, His Majesty the Fourth King and the Prime Minister of Bhutan on the entire gamut of our bilateral relations.

Bhutan’s peaceful and smooth transition to a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy has been a success story. Its orderly conduct of elections is testimony to the consolidation of its democracy, in accordance with the wise vision of Their Majesties. During my visit, I will have the honour to address the Joint Session of the Parliament of Bhutan.

The Government of India has been a privileged and leading partner of Bhutan in its socio-economic development. We rejoice in Bhutan’s remarkable economic growth and its progress and prosperity. We are committed to continuing our unstinted support to Bhutan in its development efforts. I will review with the Bhutanese leadership our development cooperation programme to make it even more effective and responsive to the changing aspirations of the people of Bhutan. I will also inaugurate one of our assistance projects during this visit, i.e., the building of the Supreme Court of Bhutan.

Our Hydropower cooperation with Bhutan is a classic example of win-win cooperation and a model for the entire region. During the visit, we will lay the Foundation Stone of the 600 MW Kholongchu Hydropower Project.

People-to-people contact is an important aspect of our bilateral relations. I intend to discuss with the Bhutanese leadership how to further strengthen these contacts between our countries, particularly among the youth. In this regard, the role of educational links will be very important.

I am looking forward to my first-ever visit to Bhutan and to nurturing and further strengthening India’s special relations with Bhutan.

A series of Modi`s tweets ahead of his Bhutan trip read —

Modi will be accompanied by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh.

He will meet Bhutan`s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay during his two-day visit which will see the two sides exploring ways to boost their ties, particularly in trade and hydro-electricity.

Modi will also address the joint session of the National Assembly and National Council of Bhutan and meet the Leader of the Opposition.

The fact that the Prime Minister chose Bhutan as his first foreign destination assumes significance since China has lately intensified efforts to win it over and establish full- fledged diplomatic ties with Thimphu.

With Agency Inputs