India announces Nu 45bn assistance to Bhutan

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Nu 45bn (INR 4,500 crore) financial assistance to Bhutan for its 12th Five-Year-Plan while delivering his press statement yesterday during the state visit of Lyonchhen Dr. Lotay Tshering to India. 

“This contribution will be according to the needs and priorities of Bhutan,” the Indian PM said.

As this year is the golden jubilee year of the diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan, PM Narendra Modi said it is a matter of great happiness for him to welcome Prime Minister Dr. Lotay in India in this historic and auspicious year.

He also congratulated both the government and the people of Bhutan for successful conduct of the third general elections in Bhutan this year.

“I have assured the Prime Minister that as always India will play the role of a trusted partner and friend in the development of Bhutan,” the Indian PM said.

Outlining that cooperation in hydro projects has been an important component in the long history of cooperation between the two countries, the Indian PM said,” Today we reviewed our cooperation in all related projects in this important sector.”

“This is a matter of happiness that the work on the Mangde-Chhu project is going to be completed soon. We now have agreement also on the tariff of this project. Work on other projects is also making satisfactory progress and we both want to further expedite all the other projects,” he added.

According to the joint press statement on the State Visit of Prime Minister of Bhutan to India (27-29 December 2018) issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday, the two Prime ministers reviewed the implementation of ongoing bilateral hydro-power projects in Bhutan, and agreed to expedite their implementation.

“They reiterated their commitment to jointly develop 10,000 MWs of hydropower generating capacity in Bhutan and in this regard discussed the Sankosh Hydropower Project,” states the press statement.

According to the press statement, the two Prime Ministers also expressed satisfaction at the progress of the 720 MW Mangdechhu hydro-power project in Bhutan, and looked forward to its early commissioning. They welcomed the mutually beneficial understanding reached between the two sides on the tariff for the export of surplus power from Mangdechhu project in Bhutan to India.

Deliberating on space science as the new dimension of cooperation between the two countries, Indian PM Narendra Modi expressed happiness that the Ground-Station being built by ISRO in Bhutan to reap the benefits of the South Asian Satellite is soon going to be completed.

“With the completion of this project Bhutan will get help in tasks such as weather information, tele-medicine and disaster relief in the far flung areas of the country,” he added.

The Indian PM also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the government for having decided to launch the RuPay Cards soon in Bhutan.

“I believe that this will further strengthen people to people relations between the two countries,” he added.

Lyonchhen (Dr) Lotay Tshering is, meanwhile, on a three-day state visit to India from December 27-29 upon the invitation of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A delegation level talk in Hyderabad House in New Delhi was held yesterday afternoon to review the progress of Bhutan- India cooperation and discuss ways and means to expand the ties of friendship and cooperation for the benefit of the two people.

According to the joint press statement, PM Modi also conveyed that India will provide grant assistance of INR 4500 Crore towards Bhutan’s 12th Five Year Plan, and a transitional Trade Support Facility of INR 400 Crore over a period of five years to strengthen bilateral trade and economic linkages.

Yenten Thinley from Thimphu