India, Bhutan resolve to take ties to new heights

During the Doklam standoff between troops of India and China last year, Bhutan had extended support to New Delhi.

Published: 06th July 2018 11:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th July 2018 11:41 PM   |  A+A-

In this file photo, PM Modi meets Bhutanese PM Tshering Tobgay (Photo | MEA)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Tshering Tobgay today resolved to enhance Indo-Bhutan ties in all areas of mutual interest and take the "exemplary" bilateral partnership to "new heights".

The two prime ministers held wide-ranging talks here covering a range of bilateral and regional issues of "mutual interest" and expressed satisfaction at the "excellent" state of bilateral relations, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

It said Modi reaffirmed that, as a friend and close neighbour, India will continue to partner with Bhutan in pursuit of its development goals.

It is understood that the two sides deliberated on various strategic issues, including ways to deepen defence and security cooperation, as well as situation on the Doklam plateau.

"Happy to have met my friend, PM @tsheringtobgay in New Delhi. We had extensive discussions on further increasing India-Bhutan cooperation," Modi tweeted.

Modi hosted a lunch in honour of the visiting dignitary.

The MEA said the two prime ministers reaffirmed their resolve to enhance co-operation in all areas of mutual interest, and to take the "exemplary bilateral partnership to new heights for the benefit of the two peoples".

Bhutan is a strategically important country for India due to its location, and both sides have been ramping up overall cooperation, including in areas of defence and security, over the past a few years.

This year, both countries are celebrating the golden jubilee of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations.

During the Doklam standoff between troops of India and China last year, Bhutan had extended support to New Delhi.

The MEA said the two prime ministers also reviewed the bilateral economic and hydro-power co-operation, including the progress in implementation of the India assisted-hydro-electric projects in Bhutan.

"They reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen collaboration in the hydro-power sector in the spirit of close friendship and co-operation that characterize relations between India and Bhutan," it said.

In a tweet, Tobgay, who arrived here yesterday on a three-day visit, said "hydropower is not just the cornerstone of the economic cooperation between India and Bhutan; it is the very foundation of our strong bonds of friendship."

The MEA said Modi complimented Bhutan government on its imminent graduation to a middle-income country, and for achieving economic progress while preserving its traditions and values, and combining sustainable development with enhanced happiness quotient of its people.

"PM Tobgay thanked the Government of India for its invaluable support and partnership for Bhutan's socio-economic development.

PM Modi conveyed that India deeply values its development partnership with Bhutan," the MEA said.

It said India was looking forward to the state visit of the King of Bhutan to India.

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