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Bhutan Prime Minister to arrive on first visit to India

12:12 AM Mar 14, 2024 IST | SURINDER SINGH OBEROI
bhutan prime minister to arrive on first visit to india
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New Delhi, Mar 13: The Prime Minister of Bhutan, H E Dasho Tshering Tobgay, is set to embark on an official visit to India from 14th to 18th March following an invitation extended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This significant trip marks Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay's major event, since assuming office in January 2024.

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Accompanying him will be key ministers including those responsible for Foreign Affairs, Energy, Natural Resources, Industry, Commerce, and Employment, along with other senior officials from the Royal Government of Bhutan.

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During his visit, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay will meet with President Droupadi Murmu and engage in bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Additionally, he is scheduled to visit Mumbai, further solidifying the diplomatic ties between the two nations.

The upcoming discussions are poised to address various aspects of the enduring friendship and cooperation shared between India and Bhutan. Last week, Bhutan's Prime Minister announced a forthcoming Nu 15 billion economic stimulus plan, supported by India. Prime Minister Tobgay, in a press conference, unveiled plans for an upcoming meeting between himself and the Indian Prime Minister, expressing anticipation for strong support given the robust bilateral relations.

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The pivotal meeting he said will centre on fund disbursement modalities, as Bhutan commits to promptly mobilize the substantial amount to enhance macroeconomic objectives. To ensure efficient execution, a specialised task force has been established to formulate a comprehensive strategy and oversee implementation.

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"We pledge to promptly utilise the Nu 15 billion stimulus package to fortify our nation's economic resilience and nurture sustainable growth," affirmed Prime Minister Tobgay during a recent briefing. Highlighting immediate priorities, he emphasised injecting liquidity into banks for loan extensions and maintaining foreign reserves. Furthermore, support will be extended to key sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and small-scale industries to propel economic growth.

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The acquisition of these funds will be facilitated through ongoing discussions with the Government of India. "We are in constant dialogue to expedite the acquisition of these funds, fostering stronger economic ties for mutual benefit," Prime Minister Tobgay reaffirmed.

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In addition, last week in New Delhi, the annual India-Bhutan Development Cooperation Talks took place, where both nations assessed the progress of projects supported by India under Bhutan's 12th Five-Year Plan.

This collaborative effort has seen the successful implementation of numerous projects spanning education, health, digital development, infrastructure, and more.

Reflecting on the outcomes of the talks, Aum Pema Choden, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, expressed deep appreciation for India's unwavering support. "We extend heartfelt gratitude to the people and the Government of India for their steadfast support and cooperation, particularly during the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic," she stated.

Looking towards the future, discussions centred on priority sectors and projects for Bhutan's 13th Five-Year Plan, affirming both nations' commitment to collaboration aligned with Bhutan's development objectives.

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