To strengthen the already existing close ties of friendship and cooperation between India and Bhutan, and following the long-established tradition of regular exchange of high-level visits between the two countries, Dr. S. Jaishankar visit to Bhutan is country’s first high-level official visit since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India was in the country for a two-day official visit from April 29 to April 30, at the invitation of Dr Tandi Dorji, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Dr Jaishankar was accompanied by senior officials of the Government of India.
The External Affairs Minister received Audiences with His Majesty The King and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. He also called on Lyonchhen Dr. Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister, and met with Lyonpo Dr. Tandi Dorji, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and discussed matters of mutual interest.
Speaking at the Handing-Over Ceremony and E-Inaugurations in Bhutan, Dr. S Jaishankar said: “I congratulate His Majesty who has led from the front, and the Government and the people of Bhutan, for the resilience that you have shown.” Adding, “It is a matter of great satisfaction as well that our bilateral cooperation has continued to flourish even during this difficult period.”
Additionally, he also said: “Given our long-standing ties and special bilateral partnership, Bhutan was the natural choice to be the first country to receive the Covishield vaccines under our Vaccine Maitri Initiative.”
On emerging partnership across various sectors, Dr Jaishankar said: “Our two countries are collaborating closely on STEM through regular placement of Bhutanese youth in our IITs; we have successfully linked up the Start-Up systems of our two countries via structured workshops; through the National Knowledge Network & the Druk-REN connection and the e-Library project, we have opened up new vistas of education and knowledge sharing between our two countries.”
He further added: “I am also pleased to share that the INDIA BHUTAN-SAT is due to launch into space shortly.”
The visit reinforces the special relationship Bhutan and India share, founded on trust and mutual respect, states a release from Prime Minister’s Office.
Embassy of India in its press release states: “India and Bhutan share a unique and time tested bilateral relationship, characterized by utmost trust, goodwill and mutual understanding.” Further stating, the two sides will discuss all issues of mutual interest, including the upcoming high-level exchanges, economic development and hydro-power cooperation.
During the visit, Dr Jaishankar and Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji virtually inaugurated the Four-lane road from Jungshina to Chubachu, Bajo-Khuruthang Secondary National Highway and new Bus Terminal in Bumthang.
To support Bhutan’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Jaishankar handed over 2000 boxes of essential medical supplies to Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji.
Between the two counterparts, the Minister discussed matters of mutual interest covering hydropower, connectivity, trade, space, health, and digital issues.