Taking forward the development partnership, India has agreed to support the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan. This is according to a joint statement on the three-day official visit of His Majesty The King to India. The visit of His Majesty The King reinforced the longstanding tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries. His Majesty also met with Indian business leaders and explored new avenues for expanding economic and commercial ties between the two countries.
The Bhutanese and Indian governments have decided to take forward the project on the proposed cross-border rail link connecting Kokrajhar in Assam to Gelephu in Bhutan through Indian government support.
Both governments also agreed to expedite the operationalisation of the Third International Internet Gateway for Bhutan by extending a concessional rate to reduce the cost of operations of the gateway by the Indian government.
To further expand bilateral cooperation on trade, technology, cross-border connectivity and mutual investments, both governments have agreed to take forward the development of inland waterways connectivity to enhance bilateral and regional trade.
Setting up the first Integrated Check Post along the India-Bhutan border near Jaigaon and Phuentshogling and opening of additional Foreigner Check posts between Bhutan and Assam to facilitate the entry and exit of third-country nationals by land route will also be considered.
Similarly, the two governments agreed to explore long-term bilateral arrangements for an assured supply of critical commodities to Bhutan such as petroleum, fertilisers and coal.
On the periodic revision of the Chhukha Hydroelectric Project, India has offered to revise the tariff to three Rupees per unit, which represents a 17 per cent increase over the earlier tariff.
Both sides reiterated the importance of cooperation in the hydropower sector and the urgent need to review and finalise modalities for new projects including Sankosh HEP.
Both governments agreed to extend the India-Bhutan energy partnership in the area of non-hydro renewables, such as solar and wind as well as in green initiatives for e-mobility. The Indian side assured necessary technical and financial assistance for projects in these areas.
In addition, on the proposed trilateral hydropower cooperation among Bhutan, Bangladesh and India, both sides expressed their commitment towards greater sub-regional cooperation, including in the energy sector.
Further, the Indian government agreed to consider Bhutan’s request to extend an additional Standby Credit Facility for five years at a reduced interest rate. Standby Credit Facility is financial assistance provided to low-income countries. India also provided an additional currency swap support of USD 200 M.
Both governments agreed to deepen the partnership in the space technology sector by finalising a Joint Plan of Action and strengthening cooperation on skill development and education.
During the meetings, His Majesty The King shared valuable perspectives and insights on the significant reforms process underway in the country. His Majesty also conveyed appreciation for the invaluable support that the Indian government continues to provide for the country’s socio-economic development.
The Bhutanese side also noted with satisfaction the timely flow of funds from GOI to ensure smooth and uninterrupted progress of projects under the 12th Five Year Plan with about 90 per cent of India’s committed plan assistance to Bhutan already released.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaffirmed India’s deep commitment to unique ties of friendship and cooperation with Bhutan and reiterated continued and full support to the socio-economic development based on the priorities of the government and as per the vision of His Majesty.
His Majesty The King paid an official visit to India from 3-5 April at the invitation of the President of India, Droupadi Murmu. His Majesty was accompanied by Dr Tandi Dorji, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and senior officials from the government.