Thank you for warm welcome, may India-Bhutan friendship keep scaling new heights: PM Modi

PM Modi on Friday said he was grateful to the Bhutanese people for according to him a "memorable welcome" to their beautiful country and hoped that India-Bhutan friendship "keep scaling new heights".
PM Narendra Modi's visit to Bhutan
PM Narendra Modi's visit to Bhutan

Thimphu | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said he was grateful to the Bhutanese people for according to him a "memorable welcome" to their beautiful country and hoped that India-Bhutan friendship "keep scaling new heights".

His comments came hours after he arrived in the Himalayan nation on a two-day State visit.

His visit seeks to further cement India's unique and enduring relations with Bhutan as part of the country's 'Neighbourhood First' Policy.

Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome upon his arrival at the Paro International Airport earlier in the day.

He was warmly received by Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay, at Paro airport.

"Thank you for the warm welcome to Bhutan, PM @tsheringtobgay. May India-Bhutan friendship keep scaling new heights," the Prime Minister said on 'X'.

Modi received a warm welcome, with the Bhutanese people lining the entire 45-kilometre route from Paro International Airport to Thimphu which was also decked up with Indian and Bhutanese flags.

Later in the day, a group of Bhutanese youngsters dressed in traditional Indian attire performed on a Garba song written by Prime Minister Modi to welcome him to their country.

Modi watched them perform with rapt attention and applauded at the end of the performance.

"I am grateful to the people of Bhutan, especially the young children, for the memorable welcome to their beautiful country," Modi wrote in another post on 'X' and also shared pictures of him interacting with a cross-section of people of Bhutan.

The visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between India and Bhutan and the Government's emphasis on its Neighbourhood First Policy, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

The Bhutanese prime minister wrote on 'X' in Hindi: "Bhutan mein aapka swagat hai mere bade bhai @narendramodi Ji (Welcome to Bhutan my big brother)" Earlier, Modi posted on X about his visit to Bhutan.

"On the way to Bhutan, where I will be attending various programmes aimed at further cementing the India-Bhutan partnership. I look forward to talks with Majesty the King of Bhutan, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and Prime Minister @tsheringtobgay," he wrote before his departure.

The visit, scheduled between March 21 and 22, was postponed due to the inclement weather in Bhutan.

During the visit, Prime Minister Modi received an audience with Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan, and Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. He will also hold talks with the Prime Minister of Bhutan.

The visit will provide an opportunity for both sides to "exchange views on bilateral and regional matters of interest and deliberate on ways to expand and intensify our exemplary partnership for the benefit of our peoples", the MEA said in a statement earlier this week.

India and Bhutan share "a unique and enduring partnership which is rooted in mutual trust, understanding and goodwill", the statement emphasised.

"Our shared spiritual heritage and warm people-to-people ties add depth and vibrancy to our exceptional relations," the MEA said.

The Prime Minister will receive a grand welcome at the Tashichho Dzong, a traditional Buddhist monastery and the seat of the Bhutanese government.

Modi will also inaugurate the Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Mother and Child Hospital in Thimphu, a state-of-the-art hospital, built with the assistance of the Government of India in Thimphu.

Bhutanese Prime Minister Tobgay was on a five-day visit to India last week, his first foreign trip after assuming charge of the top office in January.

He also held meetings with captains of various industries, besides other important engagements.

Diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan were established in 1968. The basic framework of India- Bhutan relations has been the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed in 1949 between the two countries, which was revised in February 2007.

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