After king, Bhutan PM comes to India Saturday

October 29th, 2010 - 11:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) Against the backdrop of concerns about China scaling up its influence in Bhutan, India will host Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley on a four-day visit starting Saturday, a trip that comes close on the heels of the Bhutanese monarch’s 10-day visit.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday will hold wide-ranging talks with Thinley that will focus on wide-ranging development and energy cooperation between the two countries.

Thinley will also meet President Pratibha Patil, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.

During the Bhutanese prime minister’s visit, the two sides are expected to discuss a slew of developmental projects and some new joint initiatives in the hydropower sector.

Thinley’s visit will build upon the visit of King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk to India that ended Friday.

In his discussions with Manmohan Singh, the Bhutanese monarch allayed India’s concerns over reports of Chinese inroads into the Himalayan state and underlined the special relationship that exists between India and Bhutan.

The monarch also met President Pratibha Patil, Congress president and the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chief Sonia Gandhi and senior ministers of the Manmohan Singh government.

The king, an alumnus of the National Defence College, delivered a keynote address at the golden jubilee of the NDC here. He also attended the 75th anniversary celebrations of Doon School.

Speaking at the NDC function, the monarch underlined the “unique steadfast friendship” between the two neighbours and called himself as “part of the Indian family”.

India and Bhutan modernised their multi-faceted ties over two years ago by signing a revised treaty of friendship and cooperation that gave Thimphu more freedom in the crucial areas of foreign policy and non-lethal military purchases provided it does not impinge on New Delhi’s interests.

Thimphu has also been the largest recipient of Indian foreign aid over the years.

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