PM Modi receives Bhutan’s ‘Order of the Druk Gyalpo’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a 2-day state visit to Bhutan on Friday, amidst efforts by Bhutan and China to resolve their border dispute and Beijing’s attempts to establish diplomatic links with the Himalayan nation. The visit saw the announcement of India’s decision to double its assistance for Bhutan’s 13th five-year plan from Rs 5000 crore to Rs 10000 crore.

Highlights of the Visit

  • Modi held talks with his Bhutanese counterpart, Tshering Tobgay, and called on King Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck.
  • India and Bhutan signed 7 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and agreements, covering areas such as petroleum, trade, digital connectivity, space, and agriculture.
  • The two countries also initiated an agreement for rail links between them.
  • Modi strongly backed the King’s initiatives, including Brand Bhutan, Bhutan Believe, and the Gelephu Mindfulness City project.

Conferment of Bhutan’s Highest Civilian Honour

In a significant gesture, the Bhutanese king conferred the Order of the Druk Gyalpo, Bhutan’s highest civilian honour, upon Prime Minister Modi. This marked the first time a foreign dignitary had received this coveted award, underscoring the strong bond between the two nations.
The Prime Minister was presented with the Order of Druk Gyalpo, Bhutan’s highest civilian honour, which was conferred on him in 2021.

Bilateral Relations and Security

India and Bhutan expressed satisfaction with their cooperation on mutual security, agreeing to continue close coordination on issues relating to their national interests. The joint statement issued by the two countries used the word “Bharat” in place of “India.”
Bhutan has been mindful of India’s interests, keeping the Indian government informed about its ongoing boundary negotiations with China and not giving up its claim on Doklam, which has a bearing on India’s security.

Economic Cooperation

Modi assured Bhutan that India’s cooperation will reach new heights in the next 5 years, with a focus on new possibilities for cooperation in trade, connectivity, and energy. Measures for improved connectivity, including a new airport, rail links, and waterways, are expected to see fruition soon.
The two countries also pledged to strengthen trade and investment linkages, particularly through the private sector, in the context of the King’s vision to develop the Gelephu Special Administrative Region.

Doubled Financial Assistance

In a significant announcement, Modi declared that India would provide ₹10,000 crore in assistance for Bhutan’s 13th Five Year Plan over the next five years. This amount is double the assistance Nepal received from India for its 12th Five Year Plan, highlighting India’s commitment to Bhutan’s development.

Gelephu Mindfulness City Project

Bhutan sought India’s assistance for its ambitious Gelephu Mindfulness City project, a special economic zone along its southern border with India. Announced by the Bhutanese king in the previous year, the project includes plans for an international airport and rail and road links with India. Modi expressed India’s gladness to cooperate with Bhutan on this visionary project, which he described as an inspiration for the entire world.

Energy Partnership

India and Bhutan issued a joint vision statement on their energy partnership, pledging to ensure energy security in the region. They committed to expanding their clean energy partnership in the sectors of hydropower, solar, and green hydrogen, and jointly developing new projects to enhance energy security.


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1 Comment

  1. Dr.Cajetan Coelho

    March 23, 2024 at 6:24 pm

    Indo-Bhutan friendship – Zindabad.

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