Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay’s Visit to India Highlights Close Economic and Development Partnership 

18 March 2024

Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, who took office in January 2024, embarked on his first overseas visit to India from 14-18 March 2024. This visit came at the invitation of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and symbolized the deep-rooted friendship and cooperation between the two countries characterized by trust, goodwill, mutual understanding, and strong people-to-people ties, as well as a close economic and development partnership. 

During their meeting, Prime Minister Tobgay expressed Bhutan's gratitude towards India for its ongoing support in Bhutan's economic development and shared insights into the priorities of the Royal Government of Bhutan.  

Prime Minister Modi affirmed India's unwavering support for Bhutan's ambition to become a high-income nation, aligning with the vision of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and the aspirations of its people and government. Prime Minister Modi emphasized India's readiness to enhance its contribution to Bhutan's 13th Five-Year Plan, including considering support for an Economic Stimulus Program. He highlighted that India's development assistance would focus on infrastructure development, comprehensive multimodal connectivity, and key sectors such as agriculture and healthcare, reinforcing the strong bilateral ties and mutual commitment to each other's prosperity and development. 

Prime Minister Modi also expressed admiration for His Majesty's vision of the Gelephu Mindfulness City in Bhutan, recognizing its potential to drive sustainable economic prosperity and development in Bhutan and the region, while also strengthening economic and investment ties between the two countries. 

A key focus of the visit was the bilateral economic partnership, particularly in hydropower cooperation, which has been a cornerstone of India-Bhutan relations. Both Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to expanding this cooperation, directing officials to expedite consultations on new hydropower projects. They expressed satisfaction with the progress of the 1020 MW Punatshangchhu-II hydro-power project, anticipating its commissioning in 2024, and acknowledged advancements in addressing the challenges of the Punatsangchhu-I hydropower project. 

Furthermore, both leaders agreed to broaden the India-Bhutan energy partnership beyond hydropower to include no-hydro renewables like solar and wind energy, as well as green initiatives for hydrogen and e-mobility, and measures for energy efficiency and conservation. This expansion underscores the mutual recognition of the importance of close cooperation in the energy sector for sustainable development. 

During his visit, Prime Minister Tobgay also met with India President Droupadi Murmu, and held comprehensive discussions with Prime Minister Modi on a wide range of topics concerning bilateral cooperation and regional issues of mutual interest. The discussions also involved India's External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, and other key Indian officials, highlighting the multifaceted partnership between the two countries. 


Related link 

Joint Statement on the Official visit of Prime Minister of Bhutan Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay to India 


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