S M Krishna
S M Krishna

Krishna in Bhutan on two-day visit

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, June 18, 2009

S M Krishna
S M Krishna
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna is in Bhutan on a two-day official visit during which he will hold discussions with its leadership on ways of further strengthening bilateral relations and economic cooperation between the two countries.
This is Mr Krishna's first visit abroad after he took over as External Affairs Minister in the new United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in May.
"I am very happy to be here on my first visit abroad as the External Affairs Minister of India. We wish to reaffirm our close relations. I bring greetings and good wishes from the government and people of India for Bhutan," Mr Krishna said in a statement on arrival at Bhutan's Paro airport this morning.
He said India and Bhutan shared uniquely warm and cordial relations founded on close consultations, maturity, complete trust, mutual understanding, shared interests and mutually beneficial cooperation. "They are an example of good-neighbourly relations," he said.
During his stay in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, Mr Krishna will have meetings with King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, his predecessor and father, the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuk, Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley and Foreign Minister Lyonpo Ugyen Tshering.
"We are privileged to be a close development partner of Bhutan for about half a century based on the Royal Government’s priorities. We, therefore, rejoice in Bhutan’s progress and prosperity.
"While our multi-faceted cooperation covers a broad canvas, cooperation in the hydropower sector is a key element. Building on the successful execution of the three hydro projects – Chukkha, Kurichu and Tala – the Governments of the two countries have decided to add another 10,000 MW of hydropower capacity by 2020. This would substantially benefit both the countries," Mr Krishna said.
The Minister congratulated Bhutan for the successful completion of the first year of its historic transition to a constitutional democratic monarchy. He noted that India had been able to share its experience in democracy with Bhutan through interactions between Parliamentarians of the two countries.
Mr Krishna flagged off the first Druk Air flight from Paro to Bagdogra in West Bengal which would facilitate greater connectivity to promote trade and tourism between the two countries. Druk Air already operates flights to Delhi and Kolkata.
This is the first international commercial service that the Bagdogra airport will handle. The airport also becomes the second in West Bengal, after Kolkata, to handle international flights.
The Minister will also sign the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the Nehru-Wangchuk Scholarships that would provide an opportunity to meritorious and talented Bhutanese students to study in prestigious Indian universities and institutions.
The visit also serves to underlines India's decision to remain engaged with its neighbours.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Bhutan in May last year and President Pratibha Patil was present at the formal coronation of the present King in November last year.