Thimphu [Bhutan], January 21 (ANI): Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra concluded his official visit to Bhutan and reaffirmed close bonds of friendship between the two countries while conveying New Delhi's firm commitment to take India-Bhutan ties into new frontiers of partnership.
The January 18-20 visit of the Foreign Secretary reinforced the long-standing tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries to discuss all issues of mutual interest, the Indian Embassy in Bhutan said in a statement.
Elaborating on the visit further, the Embassy said that the two sides held wide-ranging discussions on the entire gamut of bilateral relations including development partnership under Bhutan's 12th Five-Year plan, energy cooperation, technology, trade and economic ties, and people-to-people contacts.
"Foreign Secretary Kwatra reaffirmed the close bonds of friendship India shares with Bhutan and conveyed India's firm commitment to partner with Bhutan based on the priorities of the government and people of Bhutan, and taking forward the bilateral ties into new frontiers of partnership," the Embassy of India in Thimphu, Bhutan said on Thursday.
The Bhutanese side shared their plans and expectations with regard to Bhutan's 13th Five-Year Plan in the context of ongoing transformation initiatives in Bhutan. According to the release, India and Bhutan share an exemplary bilateral relationship characterized by utmost trust, goodwill and mutual understanding at all levels, strong bonds of friendship and close people-to-people ties.
During his high-level visit, the Foreign Secretary also met the fourth king of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck and called on Prime Minister Lyonchhen (Dr) Lotay Tshering and Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Lyonpo (Dr) Tandi Dorji
The Foreign Secretary also held bilateral consultations with Foreign Secretary Aum Pema Choden.
Discussions were held by both sides on bilateral relations including development partnership under Bhutan's 12th Five-Year plan, energy cooperation, technology, trade and economic ties, and people-to-people contacts.
Both Foreign Secretaries Co-Chaired the 4th India-Bhutan Development Cooperation Talks (Plan Talks). The Bhutanese side shared their plans and expectations with regard to Bhutan's 13th Five-Year Plan in the context of ongoing transformation initiatives in Bhutan
Kwatra and his Bhutanese counterpart Aum Pema Choden jointly inaugurated key projects implemented with assistance from the Government of India, including the Citizen Service portals, National Single Window portal and Government Initiated Network Project under the Flagship Digital Drukyul Project.
The two foreign secretaries also inaugurated educational infrastructure developed in 58 central schools across Bhutan.
Kwatra on Thursday held a meeting with Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering and agreed to enhance cooperation between the two nations in various sectors, including energy and education.
Lotay Tshering appreciated India's support for Bhutan's digital flagship program and central schools. Both sides also discussed strengthening trade-related infrastructure and exploring e-commerce platforms to expand Bhutan's reach in India's market.
On his meeting with the Foreign Secretary, the Prime Minister of Bhutan said, "We agreed to enhance collaboration in sectors such as energy, education, and digital through increasing investment prospects in specific projects that will generate lasting positive impacts."
"We discussed exploring newer areas of partnership in line with the evolving scenario in energy sector. We also touched upon the modalities of the 13th Plan, moving away from conventional planning system, and integrating the essential element of long-term perspective planning," the Bhutan Prime Minister said as cited in a statement released by his office. (ANI)