Thimphu, August 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday arrived in Bhutan on an official visit, which is aimed at deepening the bilateral and strategic ties between the two Himalayan neighbours. At the airport in Thimphu, Modi was received by his counterpart, Bhutanese PM Lotay Tshering.
Issuing a statement, Modi said he is "deeply touched" by the gesture of Tshering who broke the protocol and received him at the airport. The Prime Minister further added that he was received with love by scores of locals who had arrived to welcome him. Modi to Inaugurate Mangdechhu Project on State Visit to Bhutan
"A memorable welcome in Bhutan! This is a land blessed with natural beauty and wonderful people. There is immense enthusiasm here and the people of Bhutan want to see the India-Bhutan friendship scale newer heights of success," he said.
Update by PM Modi on Twitter:
A memorable welcome in Bhutan! This is a land blessed with natural beauty and wonderful people. There is immense enthusiasm here and the people of Bhutan want to see the India-Bhutan friendship scale newer heights of success. @PMBhutan pic.twitter.com/ELNWjLGEL0
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 17, 2019
Modi is expected to meet Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck later in the day, followed by delegation level talks with Lotay Tshering. The visit would end tomorrow evening, after the Indian PM inaugurates projects jointly developed by the two nations.
Among the projects which would be inaugurated by Modi, includes Mangdechhu Project, which would increase Bhutan's hydroelectric power generation from 1,490 megawatts at present to upto 10,000 MW in the near future.
Apart from hydropower project, the Indian government has also cooperated with Bhutan in key development and infrastructure initiatives, including Penden cement plant, Paro airport and the Bhutan Broadcasting Station.
China, considered to be India's economic rival in South Asia, has also been attempting to woo Bhutan over the past couple of years. Thimphu, however, has so far remained a natural ally of India and had also backed the latter during the Doklam territorial row in 2017.
Ahead of Modi's visit, Bhutan also reiterated its support towards the measures enacted by New Delhi in Jammu & Kashmir, stating that India is under its sovereign rights to abrogate the special status of any province within its territory.