Jaishankar said that financial connectivity between the two countries has been strengthened through the launch of the RuPay card and the BHIM app, and the two sides are closely collaborating on STEM through the regular placement of Bhutanese nationals in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)
India will stand resolutely by Bhutan’s side through its post-Covid sustainable recovery, said Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, and added that the friendship between the two countries continued to flourish even during the pandemic.
Jaishankar became the first high-profile foreign official to visit the Himalayan Buddhist kingdom since the pandemic began in March 2020. He along with his Bhutanese counterpart Tandi Dorji inaugurated three India-backed development projects, including two key roads, which were completed during the last two years.
During the visit, he met Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, and other senior officials.
“It is a matter of great satisfaction as well that our bilateral cooperation has continued to flourish even during this difficult period,” Jaishankar said in Thimphu on Friday. Bhutan, he said, was a “natural choice” to be the first country to receive Covishield vaccines under India’s “Vaccine Maitri” initiative.
Jaishankar, who landed in Bhutan after his visit to Bangladesh, also handed over 2000 boxes of essential medicines to the Bhutanese government.
The four-lane road from Jungshina to Chubachu and the Bajo-Khuruthang secondary national highway—the two key roads inaugurated jointly by the two foreign ministers— and a new bus terminal in Bumthang were completed in the past two years despite logistical challenges posed by the pandemic.
Addressing the event, Jaishankar said that financial connectivity between the two countries has been strengthened through the launch of the RuPay card and the BHIM app, and the two sides are closely collaborating on STEM through the regular placement of Bhutanese nationals in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
A statement released by Bhutan’s Foreign Ministry said, “The visit is in keeping with the long-established tradition of regular exchange of high-level visits between Bhutan and India. The External Affairs Minister’s visit will further strengthen the already existing close ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.”