M A I N   N E W S

PM wants special ‘B4B – Bharat for Bhutan’ ties
* On his first foreign trip, Modi meets King Wangchuk, PM Tobgay
* Vows to boost economic relations

Thimphu, June 15
Making Bhutan his first foreign destination, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today vowed to nurture bilateral relations which he described as "B4B - Bharat for Bhutan and Bhutan for Bharat" as he held wide-ranging talks with the Bhutanese King and the Premier.

Embarking on a two-day trip here to display "special and unique" status for Bhutan in India's foreign policy, Prime Minister Modi also inaugurated the Supreme Court complex built by India as part of the developmental cooperation.

"The primary focus of both the meetings was the extensive development cooperation between the two countries and measures to enhance the economic ties," official sources said.

During his talks, Modi assured Bhutan's leadership that India is committed to its happiness and progress even though the government in Delhi has changed.

Speaking at a banquet hosted by Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay here, he said India and Bhutan are "made for each other" considering the "glorious" traditional linkages between the two countries.

"I said a while back B for B (Bharat for Bhutan and Bhutan for Bharat), I said it just like that but later I realised that it must be a sign from God that I said this," Modi said.

"The colour of our passports may be different but our thinking is the same...India stands committed to Bhutan's happiness and progress," said Modi. He said though government in India has changed, Bhutan remains a priority for New Delhi and it will strengthen the relations further.

The Indian Prime Minister also promised to assist Bhutan in setting up a digital library which will provide access to Bhutanese youth to two million books and periodicals.

The fact that the Modi chose Bhutan as his first foreign destination assumes significance since China has lately intensified efforts to woo it and establish full- fledged diplomatic ties with Thimphu. Modi, accompanied by External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, was accorded a grand welcome as he arrived at the Paro airport and was received by Tobgay and several of his Cabinet colleagues.

The Bhutanese Government rolled out red carpet as Modi was given a ceremonial guard of honour.

The Prime Minister drove down from Paro to Thimphu, a distance of about 50 km, traversing through the picturesque mountainous ranges. Common people, including children, in colourful attire lined up most of the road between Paro and Thimphu, waving Indian and Bhutanese flags.

Big hoardings carrying Modi's photographs also could be seen en route.

Modi's meeting with the Bhutanese King lasted for nearly an hour and then he held talks with Tobgay.

Modi expressed satisfaction at India being considered as a privileged partner of Bhutan and underlined that his government “would not only nurture these strong bonds but would also strengthen them.” Modi emphasised on the possibilities of greater educational contacts and suggested doubling of scholarships being provided to Bhutanese students in India. He thanked the Bhutanese leadership for the warm welcome that had been arranged for him, saying this reflected the warmth in the bilateral relations.

"He applauded the personal efforts made in ensuring the success of his first visit outside India," the sources said.

During his meeting with the Bhutanese King, Prime Minister Modi invited him and his wife Jetsun Pema to visit India. Sources described the meeting between the two as "very good".

After the meeting, both the King and Prime Minister Modi posed for photographers while shaking hands. They were then joined by the King's wife Pema and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for a photograph.

Before the meeting when Modi arrived at the palace, he was given a warm, ceremonial welcome with a traditional dance. He was presented with the guard of honour at the palace and the national anthems of the two countries were played. Just before Modi's arrival at the palace, there was heavy rainfall which raised speculation whether the guard of honour conducted in an open court could be affected. — Agencies


  • Indian Prime Minister announced doubling of scholarships being provided to Bhutanese students in India
  • He promised to assist Bhutan in setting up a digital library which will provide access to Bhutanese youth to two million books and periodicals.
  • Modi is on a two-day trip to Bhutan to display "special and unique" status for the Himalayan nation in India's foreign policy





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