PM Modi commits to assist Bhutan

PM Modi commits to assist Bhutan

Says GMC will also become an inspiration for the world.

Speaking at the historic Tendrelthang ground after receiving Bhutan’s highest civilian ord-er, “The Order of the Druk Gyalpo,” from His Majesty the King, the visiting Prime Minister (PM), Shri Narendra Modi, committed Indian support to Bhutan for achieving its vision of becoming a high economy country by 2037, achievement of the 13th Five Year Plan (FYP) and for the Gelephu Mindfulness City (GMC). PM Modi also said, “Your Majesty, today is a very big day in my life as an Indian. You have awarded me the highest national award of Bhutan.”

Underlining that every award is special in itself, PM Modi said that when an award is received from one that symbolizes divinity, the award becomes special. However, the PM said that the honor is not his personal achievement. “This is an honour for India and 140 crore Indians. On this great land of Bhutan, I humbly accept this honour on behalf of all Indians. And for this honor, I extend my heart to you and the people of Bhutan,” PM Modi said.

Touching on Indo-Bhutan relations and the people tpo people contact, PM Modi said that the 140 crore Indians know that the people of Bhutan are members of their own family. “The people of Bhutan also know and believe, that India is their family. Our relations are unbreakable, our friendship is unbreakable. Our mutual cooperation is unwavering, and the biggest thing is our trust is also unwavering. And so, for me this day is very special,” the visiting PM said. .

Speaking about the delay in his visit due to weather conditions, the PM said the weather could delay his visit, but it cannot stop him visiting Bhutan.

“The weather has given me a bit of a challenge, but it has not been a hindrance to the India-Bhutan friendship and my coming here. Therefore, this opportunity becomes even more special,” he said.

Underlining that India and Bhutan’s relations are as ancient as they are innovative and topical, PM Modi said that when he became prime minister of India in 2014, it was natural to come to Bhutan as his first foreign trip.

“And, I remember the day when 10 years ago I came to Druk Yul – that is, the Land of the Thunder Dragon.”

The PM said that the “welcome by Bhutan”, that warmth, made the beginning of his visit as prime minister memorable.

Saying that India and Bhutan share a common heritage, PM Modi said India is the land of Lord Buddha, his place of asceticism. “India is the land where Buddha received realization. Bhutan assimilated and preserved those teachings of Lord Buddha. The great word is that spiritual energy is experienced even today by coming to this earth of ganamagayal.With the blessings of Gurupadmasambhava, this earth has kept Vajrayana teachings alive even today.”

The PM said that the art of molding civilization into simplicity, this understanding of harmony in materiality and spirituality, this balance of Happiness, prosperity and traditions, are considered by him as Bhutan’s guidance for the whole world.

“Your Majesty,I am glad that you are carrying forward such a rich heritage of Bhutan with a modern vision. With your leadership and leadership, Bhutan is moving towards modernity,” the Indian PM said.

PM Modi underscored that under His Majesty’s leadership, Bhutan is moving towards Innovation with technology. Underlining that Bhutan has given the world a visionary framework like Gross National Happiness, the India PM said, “I can confidently say that the Mindfulness City of Bhutan will also become an inspiration for the world.”

Referring to the Covid-19 global pandemic, the PM said India stood shoulder to shoulder with Bhutan. “In that difficult time, I have seen Your Majesty, your sensuality, administrative efficiency very closely. Therefore, I am confident that under your leadership, Bhutan will reach new heights in technology, infrastructure and manufacturing.”

He further mentioned that when the world is today facing challenges like climate change, Bhutan’s carbon neutral progress will show the world the way.

“Companions, we are proud to have the opportunity to lend Indian support in visionary projects like His Majesty The King’s Gelephu Project.,” he said.

Talking about similar aspirations, PM Modi said the aspirations of the youth of India and Bhutan are the same. “Our goals are the same. India has set a target of becoming a developed country by 2047. Bhutan has set a target of becoming a high income country by 2034,” he remarked.

Reiterating India’s commitment, the PM said that to fulfill Bhutan’s goal, “to make ‘BB’ i.e. Brand Bhutan and Bhutan Believe, both successful, India is with you at every step.” “I also assure you that in the coming five years we will give new heights to mutual cooperation between the two countries.”

The PM spelled out some areas that the two countries would work on, such as connectivity, Infrastructure, trade and energy sector. “Be it a new airport for better Air connectivity, new rail links between Gelephu to Kokrajhar, Samtse to Banerhath, waterways through Brahmaputra, we will soon see these completed faster.”

He also mentioned that integrated check points will also be made to further strengthen the trade infrastructure. Coming to the 13th FYP, the PM  said that as always, “we will have full cooperation and support for the 13th FYP of the government of Bhutan.

“I also want to announce among my brothers and sisters of Bhutan that in the next five years, the government of India will contribute Rs 10 thousand crore in this direction,” PM Modi declared.

Speaking again about relations, PM Modi said the basis for the closeness of relationships is B2B as well as P2P. “B2B i.e.-India to Bhutan, and P2P i.e. – People to people our connection. Our B2B relationship is connected with Buddha and Guru Rinpoche. Our B2B ties are connected to the Himalayas and sacred rivers. Similarly, our P2P relationship also has thousands of years of adoption. And now, thousands of people to whom the benefit of the water supply project is reaching,” he said,

The PM mentioned about those benefiting from agriculture and animal husbandry development programmes; those who have changed their lives from the Damchu-Chukha road, children with education programs who have a future and the Mother and Child Hospital in Thimphu.

“All these partners have now become the new basis for India Bhutan’s P2P relations. Young people who are studying in law school, who are training in sports academies, Bhutanese students who are coming to India on scholarships, young people who will now train at Gyalsung Academy: These are also the basis of the P2P partnership of India and Bhutan, and also the guarantee of a bright future for our relations,” PM Modi said.

The PM also said that India and Bhutan are working together on several futuristic projects. “We are building hydro power projects together. Electricity generated from projects in Bhutan is being exported to India. This gives Bhutan the advantage of forex.”

However, the PM said “our partnership is not limited to land and water”. “Bhutan is now India’s partner in space as well. Scientists from Bhutan have launched the India-Bhutan satellite in collaboration with ISRO.”

By Ugyen Tenzin, Thimphu