Bhutan's PM Tshering Tobgay to visit India next week

New Delhi, Aug. 10 (ANI): Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay will embark on his maiden visit to India next week.

Tobgay, who assumed office last month, would be visiting India at the invitation of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

The visiting dignitary is expected to discuss issues like rupee crunch and funds for the Himalayan nation's 11th five-year plan with the Indian leadership.

Tobgay's People's Democratic Party (PDP) won a landslide victory in Bhutan's second national elections held on July 13.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had last month congratulated Tshering Tobgay on his victory, and promised 'steadfast and unflinching' support of India and its citizens for the steady steps that Bhutan is taking to further strengthen democratic processes and institutions.

Reiterating India's undiminished commitment to Bhutan in preserving these unique and special traditional ties, Dr. Singh said, "India is, and will remain, sensitive to Bhutan and its interests."

India and Bhutan share uniquely warm and special relations founded on mutual trust and understanding. The India-Bhutan Friendship Treaty signed and ratified by the two countries in 2007 forms the basic framework of our relations. It not only reflects the contemporary nature of our bilateral relations but also lays foundation for their development in the 21st century.

India and Bhutan share a common perception of their strategic interests and cooperate closely on security issues and border management.

Development of hydropower in Bhutan has been the centre-piece of the bilateral cooperation. It is an exemplary win-win partnership: surplus power generated from the hydroelectric projects is exported to India providing Bhutan a steady stream of revenue and providing Indian an assured supply of clean power.

There is vast potential to be realized as out of Bhutan's estimated potential of 30,000 MW (20,000 MW is technically and economically feasible), only about 1400 MW has been harnessed. Both governments have set the target of 10,000 MW of hydropower capacity by 2020; and have identified 10 hydropower projects to meet this target.

India is Bhutan's largest trade and development partner and source of supplies of most of the essential commodities imported by Bhutan.

As Bhutan prepares its people for the information technology age, it is reaching out beyond its traditional sectors of agriculture and hydropower to expansion in tourism, IT, and education, and it offers considerable potential for mutually beneficial economic and business partnership. (ANI)

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