Modi visit to Bhutan reflects special status

Modi visit to Bhutan reflects special status

Three weeks after taking charge as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will travel to Bhutan on Sunday on his first foreign visit to demonstrate the ''special token of friendship'' for the country.

The fact that Modi chose Bhutan as his first foreign destination assumes significance since China has lately intensified efforts to win it over and establish full-fledged diplomatic ties with Thimpu.

He will meet Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay during his two-day visit. The two sides will explore ways to give a boost to their ties, particularly in trade and hydro-electricity.

Modi, who will be accompanied by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, will also address the joint session of the National Assembly and National Council of Bhutan and meet the Leader of the Opposition.

“Bhutan is one of our most important strategic partners. It is a very good country to show our policy of good neighbourliness in South Asia and special token of our friendship,” the Foreign Secretary told a press conference here.

She was explaining why Bhutan was chosen as the first foreign destination of the prime minister.

“Our relations with Bhutan are unique and especially warm. Our historical and cultural linkages make us natural friends and partners,” she said.

Asked about China’s effort to reach out to Bhutan, the Foreign Secretary said, “Bhutan is a sovereign country and it is for its leaders to decide on this issue keeping its interests in mind.”

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