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Khurshid arrives in Bhutan for talks

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid arrived on a two-day official visit during which he will hold talks with the country`s top leadership.

Thimpu: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday arrived here on a two-day official visit during which he will hold talks with the country`s top leadership focusing on trade and economic ties.

Khurshid, who is travelling with his wife Louise, will call on Bhutan Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinely and hold discussions with the Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister-in-Charge for Foreign Affairs Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk later today.

Khurshid will call on Bhutan`s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck tomorrow and will also have an audience with Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the former king of Bhutan.

Besides the official work, the trip may well be a college re-union for Khurshid because both Bhutan`s Prime Minister and the Acting Foreign Minister are from his alma mater -- St Stephen`s College in New Delhi.

"It is nice that we are from same college. Even our Prime Minister is from St Stephen`s. I was 71 batch and I had done English (Hons). He (Khurshid) was also there during the same period," Lyonpo said.

Asked if they were friends in college, the Bhutanese Minister said, "No. We were from different courses".

Khurshid arrived here nearly two and half hours late as the flight got delayed in New Delhi because of the fog. Due to this his meetings were postponed by at least an hour.

India and Bhutan enjoy a deep, multi-dimensional, mutually beneficial relationship and cooperation including in hydro power development and extensive socio-economic, cultural and religious ties at the popular level.

India is Bhutan`s main development partner and its largest trading partner.

In 2011, the bilateral trade reached Rs 61.6 billion which constitutes 72 per cent of Bhutan`s total imports and 85 per cent of its exports.


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