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India committed to good neighbourly relations: Narendra Modi tells Bhutan

Thimphu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India is committed to good neighbourly relations and assured Bhutan that change in government will not alter the dynamics of Indo-Bhutan ties.

ND Modi
PM Narendra Modi landed in Bhutan yesterday for a two day trip

"India is committed to good relations with its neighbours," Modi said in his address to joint session of Bhutan's Parliament here. On second day of his two-day visit to the Himalayan country, Modi said if India progresses, it will directly impact the development of its neighbours. "Stability and development in India will help neighbours like Bhutan," he said in his speech in Hindi.

He also lauded Bhutan for the smooth transition from monarchy to democracy in a span of seven years which showed maturity in governance in that country.

63-year-old Modi arrived here yesterday on his first foreign trip after assuming office last month. 

Recalling India's historic ties with Bhutan, Modi said his government would work towards further strengthening the relations between the two neighbours.

Noting that terrorism divides and tourism unites, he said Bhutan has immense potential in the tourism sector. Modi said development of tourism does not require large investment but can yield substantial profit and even the poor can benefit from it.

Describing the Himalayas as a shared legacy of the two countries, he stressed on the need to develop the region and said India is planning to open a university for Himalayan studies. He also thanked Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay for attending his swearing in ceremony in Delhi last month.

Modi had yesterday vowed to nurture bilateral relations which he described as "B4B Bharat for Bhutan and Bhutan for Bharat" as he held wide-ranging talks with Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and Tobgay. He had also inaugurated the Supreme Court complex built by India as part of the developmental cooperation.

During his talks, Modi had 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 Tobgay here last night, he had said India and Bhutan are "made for each other" considering the "glorious" traditional linkages between the two countries.

Modi is accompanied by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh.

Want to take forward Bhutan-Bharat hydropower cooperation: Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a joint session of the Bhutanese parliament, here on Monday said India wanted to take forward its hydropower cooperation with the Himalayan country in a major way and also equip its youth with technology to be able to match strides with others in the world.

Addressing a joint session of the National Assembly and National Council, Modi, speaking in Hindi, also said he chose to visit Bhutan for his maiden tour overseas as the relations between the two neighbours goes back many years and are very strong.

He praised Bhutan for showing so much progress despite adversity.

"Bharat-Bhutan cooperation in the field of hydropower is going strong. I want to take it forward," said Modi, adding that their cooperation in the area should be an example to the world in sustainable development.

He praised the royal family of Bhutan for the progress of the Himalayan nation.

He said that India's proposal, announced Sunday, on setting up a digital library in Bhutan was aimed at connecting the youth of both countries.

"Whatever technology is required, India is ready to provide, to help the youth of Bhutan match steps with others in the world," he said.

Modi said he could have chosen to go to any big nation after the huge mandate he got in the election, but he decided on Bhutan. "But I wanted to go to Bhutan, so I did not have to think. We share such close and friendly ties," he said.

Modi arrived here on Sunday for a two-day visit.

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