Virtual Talk on India-Bhutan Relations
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A virtual talk was organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation on 21 October 2021 on India-Bhutan Relations. The talk delved upon the following areas.

The foundation of India-Bhutan diplomatic bilateral ties was laid in 1968 with the opening of a Special Representatives office in Bhutan. In 1971, Bhutan also reciprocated by opening a similar office in India. In 2018, the two countries celebrated 50 years of bilateral ties. India and Bhutan share an all-weather friendship which is reflected from the first state visit to Bhutan by almost all the newly elected Prime Ministers of India, including Prime Minister Modi who embarked on a visit to Bhutan soon after he took the oath of office in 2014. In 1949, the two countries had signed a Treaty of Perpetual Peace and Friendship which was revised in 2007 to keep in sync with the time and demands of the present. During the COVID-19 crisis, Bhutan received Indian vaccines and other medical assistance in the first place, and the way, Bhutan managed its cold chain to protect vaccines and inoculate its people has been globally appreciated.

India’s development assistance to Bhutan is another area of complementarity in bilateral ties. Among its multi-million development assistance to Bhutan since 1961, the latest contribution includes USD 670 million development assistance to Bhutan for its 12th Five Year Plan. Ever since 1961, India has built Four Mega Hydro Power Projects which are functional and 3 projects are under the various stages of completion. With its continuous efforts, India aims to produce 10,000-megawatt power in years to come and it will be forty percent of Bhutan’s total hydropower potential. Today, Bhutan’s 85 per cent trade takes place with India which is completely free of customs duty. In 2020, India had opened five new trade routes with Bhutan and the two countries are aiming to upgrade the existing trade routes with modern technology. Also, 50 per cent of Bhutan’s total Foreign Direct Investment is received from India, mostly in the power sector.

Other than the traditional areas of cooperation, India and Bhutan are cooperating in the area of Space Technology. Today, Rupay Cards and UPI Applications are functional in Bhutan with the help of India. Also, India’s top institutions like IITs, IIMs and, other medical institutes host Bhutanese students who are proving to be the best assets on their return to Bhutan after completing education in India. Information Technology, start-ups, and Buddhism continue to further deepen the cooperation.

Event Date 
October 21, 2021

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