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Couldn't have hoped for better country on my first foreign visit: Bhutanese PM in India

Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering with PM Modi. (Image source: MEAIndia) Photograph:( Twitter )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 28, 2018, 10.17 AM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering is on a 3-day trip to India. It is Tshering's maiden foreign visit after assuming office last month. Tshering, earlier in the day, said, "India and Bhutan are very close because we have opened our heart for each other". 

Bhutanese PM's remarks came while speaking to media after his ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi today. He was welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Today is the main day of his engagements with the Indian leadership.

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Bhutan PM said, "I carry volumes of love from my King and people of Bhutan." He also thanked PM Modi for extending an invitation to visit India.

During the visit, PM Tshering will be discussing Bhutan’s 12th Five Year Plan. He will also talk about hydropower cooperation, particularly the Mangdechhu project which is built with India's help.

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PM Tshering visited Rajghat. In the visitor's book, he wrote, "It is my great honour to be visiting India today. I thank PM Modi and the people of India. I could not have hoped for a better country on my first foreign visit after assuming office."

Tshering took over as Bhutan's 8th prime minister on November 7. After his victory in the Bhutanese elections, PM Modi had called Lotay Tshering and congratulated him over his electoral success. 

Ceremonial reception to Bhutanese prime minister.

Ceremonial reception to Bhutanese prime minister.

Prime Minister Modi conveyed that India attaches "highest priority to further strengthening unique ties of friendship and cooperation with Bhutan, which is based on shared interests and values, utmost trust, goodwill and mutual understanding."

This year marks the golden jubilee of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and Bhutan. Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale was the first Indian official to visit Bhutan to meet the Bhutanese PM.

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India is Bhutan's largest trading partner. In 2016, the total bilateral trade between the two countries stood at Rs. 8,723 crores. 82 per cent of Bhutan's total import, which comes to Rs 5528.5 crores, comes from India while 90 per cent of Bhutan's export goes to India and stands at Rs 3205.2 crores. Most of Bhutan's export to India is electricity.