Bhutan King visits India to push economic ties | india | Hindustan Times
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Bhutan King visits India to push economic ties

india Updated: Jul 26, 2006 15:17 IST

The King of Bhutan began a six-day official visit to neighbouring India on Wednesday aimed at expanding economic and energy ties.

The arrival of Bhutan's monarch, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in Delhi was confirmed by a spokesman of the kingdom's embassy.

Bhutan is expected to renew a 10-year economic pact with India that expired in March and sign a hydro-electric power cooperation deal.

The king was accompanied by Crown Prince Dasho Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck and Trade Minister Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, India's foreign ministry said.

The king, who plans to hand power to the crown prince and stage Bhutan's first democratic national elections in 2008, will hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his official residence on Saturday.

Bhutan and India cooperate on a number of fronts, including hydro-electric power and health.

In May, the two countries signed an agreement under which India will train election workers, supply voting machines and provide other election assistance.

The king plans to set up a two-party democracy after nearly a century of absolute monarchy.