India launches Nehru-Wangchuk scholarships for Bhutanese

June 20th, 2009 - 6:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, on his maiden visit to Bhutan, announced a new series of scholarships for young students from the Himalayan kingdom to study in prestigious Indian institutions, the external affairs ministry said Saturday.
Krishna, on his first trip abroad after taking over his current post, launched the Nehru-Wanghuck scholarships in Thimpu in the presence of his Bhutanese counterpart Ugyen Tshering.

“The Nehru-Wangchuck scholarships will be available to talented and meritorious Bhutanese nationals for undertaking studies in prestigious universities and institutions for courses leading to graduate and postgraduate degrees or diplomas, with priorities accorded to postgraduate professional studies,” the ministry statement quoted him as saying.

Krishna said the scholarships will further cement the close ties between the two countries and “provide new opportunities to the talented youth of Bhutan”.

He recalled that India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had first arrived in Bhutan in 1958 on horseback across the Himalayas and was warmly received by the then king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

That meeting, Krishna said, portended the special relationship between India and Bhutan.

“It is fitting, therefore, that on my first visit abroad as the external affairs minister of India, I have come to Bhutan and during my visit we have signed an MoU (memorandum of understanding) that recalls the indelible legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru and the legendary role of the Wangchuck dynasty,” he added.

Krishna held wide-ranging talks with Bhutanese King Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the world’s youngest monarch at the helm of the youngest democracy, and other leaders on a wide array of bilateral and regional issues, including the security situation in Nepal.

Shortly after his arrival Thursday, Krishna flagged off the first Paro-Bagdogra (Assam) flight of Bhutan’s Druk Air that would spur greater connectivity and promote trade and tourism between the two neighbours.

At a banquet the Bhutanese monarch hosted in his honour, Krishna described Bhutan as “our closest friend and neighbour” and held bilateral relations as “an example of good neighbourliness”.

Putting energy cooperation at the heart of the growing India-Bhutan relationship, Krishna said New Delhi was committed to generating 10,000 MW of hydel power for export to India by 2020.

Alluding to the widening spectrum of bilateral engagement that includes areas ranging from power, transport, communications infrastructure to education, IT, industry, medicine and agriculture, Krishna said India will be a close development partner of Bhutan in days to come.

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