Bhutan PM moots talks with India, Bangladesh on energy

January 14th, 2011 - 4:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Jan 14 (IANS) Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley has mooted tri-nation talks between Bangladesh, Bhutan and India to meet Bangladesh’s acute demand for electricity.”Why three of us should not discuss how can we meet the needs of Bangladesh sooner than later?” he said at the end of a four-day visit here.

He told media that currently Bhutan “is rather over capacitated” with 10 mega hydraulic power projects committed to India, which will be completed by 2020.

“We like to help Bangladesh and explore generation of hydropower in Bhutan for Bangladesh,” Prime Minister Thinley said.

He mentioned that Bangladesh proposed investment in hydropower in Bhutan on equity share basis or direct purchasing from Bhutan.

He expressed gratitude to the Bangladesh government for offering Bhutan to use Chittagong and Mongla seaports.

Thinley visited Mongla seaport Thursday and was impressed to see the existing facilities. He said a team from Bhutan would visit Bangladesh to see how efficiently they can use these ports.

In reply to a question, the Bhutanese premier said there is tremendous goodwill between the two countries to promote mutual trade not only for economic benefit but also for other benefits. He said present trade volume could be increased to $100 million from $30 million in the next few years.

Asked about the agreement on cooperation in the health sector, he said they would expect at least 20-30 doctors a year - some highly specialised doctors and some general physicians with five years’ experience - to be recruited on deputation.

He sought for specialised doctors from government hospitals to support the health system in Bhutan since his country has acute shortage of doctors.

Under the cultural agreement, Thinley said he would like to see access for more Bhutanese students to study in Bangladesh, particularly medical science. Under the deal, he said, tourism industry can be expanded.

Bangladesh and Bhutan have agreed to further intensify their mutually beneficial cooperation, trade and commerce, investment, connectivity and transit, said a 13-point joint statement issued at the end of the visit.

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