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India gets power, Bhutan college

Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi
Dec 21, 2009 11:33 PM IST

It's going to be profitable visit for Bhutan's new king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who arrived on his first five-day visit to India on Monday.

It's going to be profitable visit for Bhutan's new king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who arrived on his first five-day visit to India on Monday.

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For firmer ties with the Himalayan country, New Delhi is going all out.

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This includes gifting a first-ever medical college to Bhutan, Rs 10,000 crore Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) project, four mega hydro power projects, more air connectivity. India is also going to work closely on issues of climate change. Altogether, 12 pacts are on the works to mark the Bhutan king's visit.

A medical college in Bhutan on the lines of AIIMS has been a long-standing demand. The country has been sending students to India and other countries to train in medicine.

The Rs 10,000 crore ICT project is to be billed a gift from the President of India to the Bhutan king. It aims at helping Bhutan's development through the ICT technologies.

"Access to knowledge and connectivity is critical for the integrated development ... We hope our neighbour can immensely benefit from the critical advantage that India has in this filed", an official said.

Pacts related to four mega projects is also on the cards. They include the Punatsangchu-II (1000 MW) and Magdechu (360/600MW), sources said.

India sees the cooperation on the hydropower sector as a win-win situation. While it helps Bhutan get the economic self-reliance, import of electricity will help India feed its growing energy demand.

India plans to import 5,000 MW from Bhutan by 2020 under an umbrella agreement in 2006, but this will later be doubled under an accelerated hydel power development agreement programme.

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