Mathai in Thimphu, India highlights special ties

August 18th, 2011 - 11:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) Making his first overseas trip since assuming charge over a fortnight ago, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai called on Bhutan’s monarch Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck in Thimphu Thursday and convyed India’s desire to further develop special ties between the two countries.

Mathai discussed a host of bilateral issues, including ways to expand economic and energy cooperation with Bhutanese leaders.

Mathai also called on Prime Minister Lyonchen Jigmi Y. Thinley and met Minister of Economic Affairs and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk.

Mathai Wednesday began his three-day visit to the Himalayan kingdom that prefers to measure national wealth in terms of gross national happiness.

He held substantive discussions with his Bhutanese counterpart Daw Penjo on a wide array of bilateral and regional ways.

“The discussions focused on bilateral relations, economic cooperation, SAARC, regional and multilateral issues,” the external affairs ministry said here.

Mathai conveyed to Bhutanse leaders India’s keenness to invest India’s special ties with Bhutan with greater economic heft.

Bhutan is seeking additional trade routes through India for trade with third countries.

Immediately after assuming charge Aug 1 as foreign secretary, Mathai, India’s former ambassador to France, underlined that improving ties with neighbours will be his top priority.

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