Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Bhutan; New Delhi, Thimphu sign several MoUs, agreements

Team India Sentinels Friday 22nd of March 2024 08:59 PM

Narendra Modi (L) with Bhutan’s king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. (Photo: X/@narendramodi

New Delhi: The prime minister, Narendra Modi, embarked on a significant 24-hour state visit to Bhutan, on Friday. This visit, which was initially postponed due to adverse weather conditions, saw Modi in the Paro airfield, some 65 kilometres by road from the country’s capital, Thimphu.

The visit is in line with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between India and Bhutan. It also comes close to the heels of the visit by the Bhutanese prime minister, Tshering Tobgay, to India, as India Sentinels had reported.

During his visit, Modi met the Bhutanese king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, and the Bhutan monarch’s father, Jigme Singye Wangchuck – the fourth king of Bhutan, who abdicated the throne in 2006.

During the visit, Modi also held talks with his Bhutanese counterpart, Tobgay. During their talks, the two leaders exchanged views on bilateral and regional matters of interest. They also discussed ways to expand and intensify the exemplary partnership between the two nations for the benefit of their peoples.

Later, India and Bhutan signed several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and agreements.

The MoUs include general supply of petroleum, oil, lubricants, and related products from India to Bhutan, cooperation in energy efficiency and conservation, sports and youth development sharing reference standards, pharmacopoeia, and vigilance and testing of medicinal products. The agreements signed between the two countries include recognition of official control exercised by the Bhutan Food and Drug Authority (BFDA) by the Foods Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

Apart from these, two countries also signed a joint plan of action (JPOA) on space cooperation and renewed the MoU on peering arrangement the National Knowledge Network of India and Druk Research and Education Network of Bhutan. The two countries also agreed on an MoU on the establishment of a railway link between India and Bhutan.

The highlight of the visit was the conferment of Bhutan’s highest civilian award, the Order of the Druk Gyalpo, upon the Indian prime minister.

The visit is also seen as a strategic move for India as it also comes amid reports that Bhutan is close to finalizing an agreement with China to demarcate the disputed border between the two countries. India views an expeditious resolution of their festering boundary row that could have implications for India’s security interests, especially after the Doklam stand-off, in 2017.

Although the Doklam stand-off was resolved, China went on to build permanent military infrastructure in the disputed valley that both Thimphu and Beijing claim as their territory.


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