Fortifying Friendship

While adverse weather conditions may have momentarily delayed the arrival of Indian Prime Minister (PM), Shri Narendra Modi, to Bhutan, his unwavering resolve remained steadfast. In the face of such challenges, PM Modi affirmed that no amount of inclement weather would deter him from honoring his commitment to visit Bhutan. Emphatically reiterating India’s steadfast dedication to assisting Bhutan in its ambitious endeavors outlined in the 13th Five Year Plan (FYP), the PM pledged a sum of Rs 10,000 crores or Nu 100 billion. Moreover, he articulated India’s unequivocal support for Bhutan’s aspirations to ascend to the echelons of a high-income nation by 2034. Whether under the banner of Brand Bhutan or the collective ethos of Bhutan Believe, India unequivocally stands shoulder to shoulder with Bhutan, steadfast in its solidarity and unwavering in its support.

Amidst the backdrop of a gracious ceremony where Bhutan bestowed upon him its highest honor, “The Award of the Druk Gyalpo,” PM Modi graciously accepted the accolade on behalf of all Indians. Expressing heartfelt gratitude to His Majesty the King, he underscored the depth of Indo-Bhutan relations, evoking the resonance felt across India when Bhutan’s cinematic marvel, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom,” received acclaim on the international stage.

The camaraderie and mutual respect between the leadership of both countries were evident within the hallowed confines of Trashichhodzong. Following a ceremonious guard of honor, His Majesty the King extended a gesture of solidarity by personally assisting PM Modi’s ascent into the kuenrey. The same was mirrored at Tendrelthang, where His Majesty tenderly supported PM  Modi’s descent, symbolizing a bond characterized by filial piety and profound respect. Such acts epitomize the embodiment of love, trust, and unwavering conviction that underpin the enduring friendship between the two nations.

PM Modi’s discourse extended beyond the confines of ceremonial formalities, delving into the realm of future cooperation, particularly in the domain of innovation. With resolute optimism, he lauded the prospect of Gelephu Mindfulness City (GMC) as the harbinger of Bhutan’s future, affirming India’s steadfast commitment to stand behind Bhutan in its pursuit of progress. While specifics regarding India’s support for GMC were not elaborated upon, he left no room for doubt regarding India’s enduring support for Bhutan’s developmental aspirations.

A central theme that permeated throughout the visit was the comprehensive review of past collaborations and the identification of novel avenues for mutual cooperation. This overarching agenda was underscored not only in the PM’s address but also reverberated throughout interactions with the press. Recognizing the dynamic nature of Indo-Bhutan relations, there exists a collective acknowledgment at the highest echelons of leadership that the landscape of collaboration must evolve in tandem with the passage of time.

In today’s rapidly evolving world, Indo-Bhutan relations require flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. Both nations must be open to partnerships offering advanced expertise and cost-effectiveness, even if they go beyond traditional bilateral ties. Cooperation should prioritize mutual benefit and progress over geographical proximity or historical alliances.

Crucially, the enduring pillars of our relationship – shared values, mutual trust, respect, and a profound sensitivity to each other’s concerns – must remain steadfast and unwavering. These foundational principles serve as the bedrock upon which our partnership thrives, transcending transient fluctuations in geopolitical dynamics or economic considerations. By nurturing and preserving these core values, both India and Bhutan can continue to cultivate a relationship that not only withstands the test of time but also flourishes in the face of evolving challenges and opportunities.

As PM Modi said, we can go to space together!