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Saturday 11 July 2020

Bhutan underscores Modi’s ‘neighbourhood first’ foreign policy

"Neighbourhood First'' policy, Continuing the high-level exchanges between the two countries, PM Modi departs for Bhutan on a two-day visit

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning left for a two-day visit to Bhutan with an aim to strengthening bilateral ties with the Himalayan nation in various fields.

This is Prime Minister Modi’s second visit to Bhutan and his first since his re-election as Prime Minister. “A central pillar of our ”Neighbourhood First” policy. Continuing the high-level exchanges between the two countries, Prime Minister @narendramodi departs for #Bhutan on a two-day visit. This is Prime Minister second visit to Bhutan and the first since his re-election,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

In his departure statement, the Prime Minister said on Friday that India-Bhutan partnership forms an important pillar of New Delhi’s ”Neighbourhood First” policy and expressed confidence that his two-day trip will promote the time-tested ties between the two countries.

Prime Minister Modi will arrive at the Paro International Airport and will officially begin his engagements by visiting the Simtokha Dzong, a monastery built by Ngawang Namgyal who unified Bhutan. During the visit, the Prime Minister is expected to receive audiences with Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan and Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth King of Bhutan and hold talks with his Bhutanese counterpart Dr Lotay Tshering.

On the second day of his visit, Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to visit the National Memorial Chorten. He will also be attending a cultural performance at Tashichhodzong – a Buddhist monastery – hosted in his honour. The Prime Minister will also address the students at the Royal University of Bhutan.

During the visit, 10 MoUs are slated to be signed between the two close neighbours in fields like education amongst others. Five inaugurations are also expected to take place, including that of the Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant and the ISRO-built earth station in Thimphu. India and Bhutan share a special and time-tested partnership, anchored in mutual understanding and respect and reinforced by a shared cultural heritage and strong people to people links.

“The visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries and provides an opportunity to the two sides to discuss ways to further strengthen and diversify the bilateral partnership, including economic and development co-operation, hydropower co-operation, people-to-people-ties as well as shared views on regional matters and other issues of mutual interest,” an MEA statement said. After wrapping up his bilateral engagements, Prime Minister Modi will depart for New Delhi from Paro on Sunday.

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