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PM receives warm welcome in Bhutan

PM arrives on a two-day visit to Bhutan, becoming the first international leader to visit the Himalayan country since it entered the club of democratic nations in March.

world Updated: May 16, 2008 13:38 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday arrived on a two-day visit to Bhutan, becoming the first international leader to visit the Himalayan country since it entered the club of democratic nations in March.

Singh received a warm reception at Paro International Airport, 54 kms from here, from Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley who presented him a 'khadar', a silk scraf.

Singh is accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur who was welcomed by Aum Rinsi Bem Thinley, the spouse of the Bhutanese prime minister.

Singh, whose maiden visit to the country is expected to boost tries between the world's biggest and the youngest democracies, will address the joint session of Bhutan's first Parliament besides announcing a substantial contribution to the country's 10th Five Year Plan.

Energy cooperation is expected to dominate the talks Singh will have with Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck and Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley.

On the eve of his visit, the prime minister said that India-Bhutan relationship is a model of inter-State relations.

Singh said he would convey India's desire to "shape a relationship that builds upon the solid foundations of the past and responds to each other's national interests and aspirations in the 21st century."

Bhutan is also celebrating 100 years of the Wangchuck dynasty and 50 years of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's month-long tour which he undertook on yakback.

It is also an year in which Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck will be coronated as the fifth King of Druk Yul or the land of the Thunder Dragon as the Bhutanese people call their motherland.