HomeIndian DefenceBhutanese PM keen to visit India to discuss new areas of cooperation

Bhutanese PM keen to visit India to discuss new areas of cooperation

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New Delhi: Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay is keen on visiting India following New Delhi’s invitation to discuss new areas of cooperation, including connectivity and business, ET has learnt.

Tobgay is no stranger to India and he has been invited following his re-election as Bhutan’s PM. India had started engaging with the new Bhutanese government as soon as it was elected, with foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra meeting Tobgay on the first day of his second term last month. Tobgay is also keen to host Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is learnt. Kwatra was on a three-day visit to Thimphu to engage with the new government to discuss new initiatives, including Bhutan’s next five-year plan, fresh development support from the Indian government, and energy partnership and cross-border connectivity initiatives. New Delhi has stepped up engagements with Thimphu, a move seen as counterbalancing China’s growing inroads in Bhutan, and has been observing the trajectory of ties, particularly the boundary talks. The territorial dispute between Bhutan and China covers an area of about 764 sq km–269 sq km in western and 495 sq km in north-central Bhutan.

New Delhi is concerned over China’s claim over areas in the vicinity of Doklam in western Bhutan. In return, Beijing wants to narrow or give up its territorial claims in the north-central region of Bhutan. Thimphu has assured New Delhi that it will not undermine India’s interests while negotiating a boundary treaty with Beijing.
Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk plans a mega city project near the Indian border — the Gelephu Special Administration Region – spread over 1,000 sq km.

The project will link Bhutan economically with Assam and will help spur regional and sub-regional integration. Bhutan is eyeing Indian investments in Gelephu.

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