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With focus on 'neighbourhood first policy', PM Modi to visit Bhutan on August 17

File photo: PM Narendra Modi. Photograph:( Twitter )

WION New Delhi Aug 09, 2019, 02.26 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal Edited By: Sparshita Saxena

 

The Ministry of External Affairs has announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Bhutan from August 17 to 18.

In a statement, the MEA said, "The visit reflects the high priority that the Government of India attaches to its relations with Bhutan, India’s trusted friend and neighbour. Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Bhutan, very early in his second term, is in line with GoI’s continued emphasis on its ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’."

PM will receive audiences with Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the fourth King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck and hold talks with Prime Minister of Bhutan, Dr Lotay Tshering.

The MEA in its release highlighted the ties between the two countries stating, "India and Bhutan share a special and time-tested partnership" which is "anchored in mutual understanding and respect and reinforced by a shared cultural heritage and strong people to people links."

This will be the first visit by PM Modi to Bhutan after the Doklam crisis of 2017. The crisis saw a two-month-long standoff between the Indian Army and Chinese forces in the Bhutanese territory of Doklam which is claimed by Beijing.

Newly-elected Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonchhen Lotay Tshering was on a state visit to India in December 2018. He was again in Delhi in May to attend Modi's oath-taking ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan along with other BIMSTEC leaders. 

Earlier this year, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited Bhutan, his first visit abroad after taking charge. 

Hydro-power sector is one of the main pillars of India-Bhutan ties with New Delhi building three power projects in the country. Bhutan exports three fourth of power generated, which is surplus, to India and uses rest for its domestic consumption.

Bhutan was the first country PM Modi visited after taking charge in 2014. During that visit, the prime minister addressed the joint session of Bhutanese Parliament, laid the foundation stone of the 600 MW Kholongchhu Hydropower Project and inaugurated the Supreme Court building which was constructed with the help of the Indian government.