This Article is From Jun 15, 2014

In Bhutan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Vows to Nurture 'B2B' Ties

In Bhutan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Vows to Nurture 'B2B' Ties

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being received by his Bhutanese counterpart Tshering Tobgay on his arrival at the Paro International Airport in Bhutan

Thimpu: Making Bhutan his first foreign visit as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi today vowed to nurture bilateral relations which he described as "B2B" (Bharat to Bhutan) as he held talks with the Bhutanese King and the Premier, discussing an entire gamut of ties.

Embarking on a two-day trip to Thimpu to display "special and unique" status for Bhutan in India's foreign policy, Prime Minister Modi also inaugurated the Supreme Court complex built by India as part of the developmental cooperation.

"The primary focus of both the meetings was the extensive development cooperation between the two countries and measures to enhance the economic ties," official sources said.

PM Modi described the bilateral relations as "B2B relations - Bharat to Bhutan relations," the sources said on his meeting with Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.

The PM announced doubling of scholarships being provided to Bhutanese students in India which will now be worth Rs 2 crore.

Prime Minister Modi also promised to assist Bhutan in setting up a digital library which will provide access to Bhutanese youth to two million books and periodicals.

The fact that the Prime Minister chose Bhutan as his first foreign destination assumes significance since China has lately intensified efforts to woo it and establish full- fledged diplomatic ties with Thimphu.

PM Modi, accompanied by External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, was accorded a grand welcome as he arrived at the Paro airport and was received by Mr Tobgay and several of his Cabinet colleagues.

The Bhutanese government rolled out the red carpet as PM Modi was given a ceremonial guard of honour.

The Prime Minister drove down from Paro to Thimphu, a distance of about 50 km, traversing through the picturesque mountainous ranges. Common people, including children, in colourful attire lined up most of the road between Paro and Thimphu, waving Indian and Bhutanese flags.

Big hoardings carrying PM Modi's photographs also could be seen en route.

PM Modi's meeting with the Bhutanese King lasted for nearly an hour and then he held talks with Mr Tobgay.

Prime Minister Modi expressed satisfaction at India being considered a privileged partner of Bhutan and underlined that his government "would not only nurture these strong bonds but would also strengthen them."