Tobgay pledges to strengthen Bhutan-India bond

Last Updated: Sunday, July 21, 2013 - 11:46

New Delhi: Seeking to put behind recent irritants that have crept into Bhutan`s special ties with India, the Himalayan Kingdom`s Prime Minister-elect Tshering Tobgay on Sunday pledged to further strengthen the bonds while refusing to label the close interaction as "interference" by India.

Asking India to urgently re-start supply of subsidised gas as it was impacting on the poor of his country, the 47-year-old Bhutanese leader also said he has accepted the invitation of the Indian Prime Minister and would like to visit India as soon as possible to "assure the people and government here that regardless of which government comes to power in Bhutan, our relationship will only grow from strength to strength."

Tobgay, whose political party PDP got the majority seats in recently-held second round of democratic elections, during an interview to a news agency also termed as "waste of time and money" the efforts by his predecessor for Bhutan`s candidature for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council, saying his party was opposed to the bid.

On the reinstatement of subsidised gas supply from India, he said, "Even though my party is yet to form a government, I have had very reassuring discussions with the Indian Ambassador in Thimphu on this subject."

The subsidy cut, just before the elections, had come against the backdrop of apparent unhappiness over the meeting between Bhutan PM Jigme Thinley and Chinese leader last year.

He had a meeting with the Chinese premier in Rio and also imported some 20 buses from China, a development which had taken India by surprise.

Asked what kind of ties Bhutan will seek with China under his leadership, Tobgay, without elaborating, said, "Bhutan has a long border with China to our North which is yet to be finalised. We will continue to work towards an amicable resolution of this issue."

PTI



First Published: Sunday, July 21, 2013 - 11:46

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