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Bhutan visit extremely successful: Sushma Swaraj

Thimpu: India Monday described as "extremely successful and entirely satisfying" Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bhutan and said it would strengthen Indo-Bhutan relations.

"This visit has been extremely successful and entirely satisfying. It has reinforced and .further strengthened Indo-Bhutan ties," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told mediapersons here.


External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

Swaraj said, during the two-day trip, the prime minister interacted with all the three wings of the democracy in Bhutan - the executive, the judiciary and the legislature.

The prime minister called on Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and held talks with the landlocked country's prime minister Tshering Tobgay. He also inaugurated a new building of the country's Supreme Court at Hejo which has been built with Indian funding and Monday addressed a joint session of Bhutanese parliament.

Swaraj said India was "deeply, deeply" moved by the hospitality extended to and the love and affection showered on Modi with the king "personally supervising all arrangements".

"The prime minister (Modi) gave some new suggestions to the Bhutanese leadership like holding a sports festival where India's northeastern states and Nepal and Bhutan both participate," Swaraj said.

The prime minister also reaffirmed all commitments made by the previous UPA government to Bhutan on various issues.

She said: "The prime minister affirmed that 'We will fulfil all the commitments in toto' as the commitments were not given merely by a government but were made by one country to another."

Swaraj also referred to Modi’s comment “terrorism divides, tourism unites” and his suggestion that the two countries formulate a policy for a common tourism circuit. The minister also. mentioned the rousing welcome given to the Indian leader by the people, many of whom stood with offerings of “rice and fruit” when he was on his way to Thimpu from the Paro international Airport.

Swaraj said the two countries shared mutual security concerns.

“He (Modi) talked of B for B - Bharat should be for Bhutan, and Bhutan should be for Bharat”.

She denied that Modi had alluded to Pakistan or China when he spoke of the need of having good neighbours during Sunday’s banquet hosted by the Bhutanese prime minister.

“What he has said has been presented in a different way. He was referring to Bhutan’s stress on the happiness factor. Then he jocularly said when you (Bhutan) talk of Gross National Happiness you never include in the idea whether the neighbours are happy. It was a joke”.

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