Mon, 16 Sep 2019

By Malavika Kaur (Ani)Thimphu [Bhutan], Aug 18 (ANI): Hundreds of people, some holding flags, the others offerings like incense sticks and flowers, lined the streets to bid farewell to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he made his way to Paro from Thimphu after attending the lunch hosted by the Bhutanese King, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, in his honour on Sunday.

The same honour was also extended to Modi upon his arrival in Bhutan on Saturday. In fact, he was received in the same way when he had come to Bhutan after assuming office as the Prime Minister in 2014.

Held at Tashichhodzong, the lunch was preceded by a cultural performance which saw a presentation of different styles of performing arts of Bhutan. Young students also sang a welcome song for Modi as he was received by the Druk Gyalpo, the Queen and the 4th King of Bhutan along with the Bhutanese Prime Minister (Dr) Lotay Tshering. The lunch was hosted by the King and the Queen of Bhutan following the programme.

After the event, school children who stood along the streets chanted "India! India!" and "Thanks for coming!" as Prime Minister Modi made his way in through Thimphu to the airport in Paro.

Before the lunch, Modi had addressed students and parliamentarians at the Royal University of Bhutan and reiterated that India was looking forward to cooperating in newer areas of bilateral ties like education, healthcare and space.

New Delhi and Thimphu also signed nine MoUs and one power purchase agreement in the presence of the two Prime Ministers at Semthoka Dzong on Saturday. In a first, the signing took place in front of the statue of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, as a special gesture extended by the Himalayan nation. The statue has been loaned by India to Bhutan.

Traditional fields of cooperation like hydropower were infused with fresh impetus during Modi's two-day official visit.

At least seven out of the nine MoUs are in the field of education. Five projects including the RuPay rollout and the Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant were also inaugurated by Modi and Tshering in Semthoka. The ISRO-built Ground Station for South Asian Satellite was also remote launched during the event yesterday.

Amongst other things, India has made the commitment to give Rs 5,000 crores to Bhutan as development assistance for its 12th 5-year plan, which began earlier this year. The 1st tranch of funds for the plan has already been released by New Delhi. (ANI)

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