In a bid to take India-Bhutan relationship beyond hydropower, Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday launched several projects in different areas from LPG to space technology, as well as enhancing co-operation in science and education sectors.
Addressing a press conference with his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering on the first day of his two-day visit, the prime minister announced major assistance to the Himalayan country including increasing its clean fuel supply, launch of Rupay card, and a foreign currency swap arrangement.
The press conference followed talks between the two leaders.
Recalling his first visit to Bhutan after taking over as prime minister for his first term in 2014, Modi said: “Bhutan has a special place in my heart. During my previous stint, I selected Bhutan for my first state visit and by visiting Bhutan again during my second term I am very happy.”
Terming hydropower an “important area of co-operation” between the two countries, he said: “Together, the two countries have transformed the power of the rivers of Bhutan into not only electricity but also mutual prosperity. Today we have achieved another historic milestone of this journey with the inauguration of the Mangdechhu project.
“With the co-operation of both countries, hydropower generation capacity in Bhutan has crossed 2,000MW. And I am confident that we will also take other projects forward very fast.”
The prime minister also announced that to meet the demands of the people of Bhutan, India is increasing the supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from 700 to 1,000 metric tonnes per month. “Through this, we will be able to provide clean fuel to the villages,” he said.
Modi said that under the Saarc currency swap framework, India was “positive” at increasing the limit of currency swaps for Bhutan. “Meanwhile, an additional $100mn will be available to Bhutan under the standby swap arrangement to meet its foreign exchange requirement.”
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