Thanking Bhutan for the enthusiastic welcome, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday gave a joint Indo-Bhutan address with Bhutan Prime Minister (Dr.) Lotay Tshering at Thimpu's historic Simtokha Dzong, saying that two nations relations are based on their countries' citizens' progress, prosperity.
"I thank you Prime Minister and Bhutan's Royal government for the enthusiastic welcome I and my delegation received. I thank you for the great India-Bhutan friendship. In my previous term as Prime Minister, choosing Bhutan as the first visit was very effective. Similarly, visiting Bhutan in the early days of my second term makes me very happy. Indo-Bhutan relation is based on progress, friendship and prosperity of both countries' citizens," he said.
Praising Bhutan's King- Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck's exemplary vision, he said Bhutan had set a global developmental example by measuring happiness as development.
"It is my good fortune that with India's great mandate the ties between both countries have deepened giving me an opportunity to work with you all again. I have discussed many topics with the Prime Minister and will also shortly talk to the King too. The vision of your King has elevated Bhutan's global stature by setting an example of development which is measured by happiness, not numbers. Where economic progress occurs with environment preservation. Who would not want such a neighbour?," he added.
Announcing new hydro projects between the two countries, he said:
" We are a major partner in Bhutan's progress and have a place in your 5-year plans. Hydropower is our joining factor. Both countries have to harness hydropower for electricity and water resources. Today, through MOUs we have furthered this project. With our cooperation, Bhutan's hydropower generating capacity has increased to 2000 MW and continuing. I believe we will further other projects at an accelerated pace too."
Rolling our social welfare projects by increasing LPG supply, foreign currency swap in Bhutan, PM Modi highlighted the need for clean energy and foreign investment in Bhutan.
"For social welfare, India will increase its LPG supply to Bhutan from 700 metric tonnes to 1000 metric tonne, pushing clean fuel to rural households. India will also help in establishing Bhutan's Multi-speciality super hospital. Using the SAARC currency swap chamber, we have a positive outlook in increasing the limit for Bhutan's currency swap with India. To promote Bhutan's foreign currency needs, through Stand-by swap, 100 million dollars will be available to Bhutan," he said.
Announcing the new Ground Station for South Asian Satellite in Bhutan, he also stated several educational schemes which will be available to students in Royal Bhutan University.
"In Space technology progress, we have inaugurated the Ground Station for South Asian Satellite in Bhutan, furthering communication, public broadcasting, and disaster management in Bhutan. Both countries will help each other in small satellites. With India's National knowledge network, Bhutan's student will be given access to India's universities. Royal Bhutan University and India's IITs and other top universities will develop stronger ties as it is the need for the hour to enhance our skills and education sectors. I am waiting to meet the bright students in Bhutan's Royal University tomorrow," he said.
Launching RuPay in Bhutan, he added:
"Today, we have also launched the RuPay card which will enhance our relations in digital transactions and business transactions. Our people-to-people interactions are our lifeline. Hence postgraduate scholarships in Nalanda University has been increased from two to five. We are also happy to extend our unique statute with Bhutan by five years."
Concluding his speech with a belief in a prosperous Indo-Bhutan future, he thanked the crowd with a Bhutanese thank you -'Tashi Delek'.
"The future is also as prosperous as our historic ties and we will set a global example. Hence I wish to thank you for giving me yet another oppurtunity to visit Bhutan. Tashi Delek," he said.
In his departure statement issued in New Delhi on Friday, the Prime Minister said his visit to the Himalayan nation in the beginning of the current term reflects the high importance his government attaches to New Delhi's relations with Bhutan-- a "trusted friend and neighbour".
During the visit, PM Modi would hold talks with King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his Bhutanese counterpart on the entire gamut of bilateral relations. Prime Minister Modi will also address young Bhutanese students at the prestigious Royal University of Bhutan.