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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

PM Narendra Modi to visit Bhutan with focus on bilateral ties

PM Modi’s visit to Bhutan shows the government’s emphasis on improving bilateral ties with close neighbours.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2019 07:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Bhutan next month. Bhutan was also the first country Modi visited during his first stint as premier.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Bhutan next month. Bhutan was also the first country Modi visited during his first stint as premier. (PTI)
         

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Bhutan early next month to boost the traditionally close bilateral ties and to reiterate his government’s emphasis on the ‘neighbourhood first’ policy, people familiar with developments said.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar made Bhutan his first overseas destination in June shortly after assuming office, with the ministry saying at the time that the visit reflected the importance India attaches to ties with the Himalayan nation.

Jaishankar’s trip prepared the grounds for Modi’s visit, which will focus on issues ranging from assistance for Bhutan’s economic development plan and cooperation in hydropower.

Bhutan was also the first country Modi visited during his first stint as premier.

Modi began his second term with visits to the Maldives and Sri Lanka, while his swearing-in was attended by leaders of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec), a seven-nation grouping that includes Bhutan.

This, the people cited above said, was meant to reflect the importance attached by the government to the ’neighbourhood first’ policy. At the height of the 2017 face-off between Indian and Chinese troops at Doklam, which was triggered by an intrusion into territory claimed by Bhutan, some quarters in Thimphu had called for a relook at the relationship with New Delhi in order to balance things with Beijing. Soon after his election last year, Tshering chose India for his first overseas visit in a reflection of the desire to maintain the close ties.

First Published: Jul 21, 2019 07:19 IST

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