India-Bhutan Joint Press Statement
India-Bhutan Joint Press Statement
1. At the invitation of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, King of Bhutan, paid a six-day State Visit to India from January 24 to 29, 2005 as Chief Guest for the Republic Day. His Royal Highness Chhoetse Penlop Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the Crown Prince of Bhutan, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and senior officials of the Royal Government of Bhutan accompanied His Majesty the King.
2. During the State Visit, the President held talks with His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and hosted a State Banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Vice President, Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Minister of External Affairs Shri K. Natwar Singh, Defence Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Shri Shivraj Patil, Power Minister Shri P.M. Sayeed, and other senior government officials and political leaders held separate talks with His Majesty the King.
3. The two sides had a cordial exchange of views and discussions on bilateral relations and economic cooperation as well as regional and international issues. They recalled the strong historical ties of friendship and understanding between the two countries. Both sides noted with satisfaction the excellent state of friendly relations and cooperation, and expressed their firm commitment to further strengthen these exemplary relations.
4. The two sides recognised the many years of successful economic cooperation and agreed to further strengthen this mutually beneficial partnership. The Royal Government of Bhutan expressed appreciation for the invaluable and substantial assistance that the Government of India continues to provide towards Bhutan’s all round development. The Government of India reiterated its commitment to assist the Royal Government of Bhutan in its socio-economic development programmes in general and to the 9th Five Year Plan in particular.
5. The programme grant component of India’s overall assistance for Bhutan’s Ninth Five Year Plan (2002-07) was also finalised. The Government of India agreed to enhance this component of assistance from Rs. 430 crores to Rs. 710 crores during the Ninth Plan.
6. During the State Visit, the following three Memoranda of Understanding were signed on January 25, 2005:
i) Preparation of Detailed Project Report for:
a) Punatshangchhu (Stage-II) Hydropower Project
b) Mangdechhu Hydropower Project
ii) Establishment of Railway Links between bordering towns of India and Bhutan
iii) Cooperation in the field of Agriculture and allied sectors
7. The Government of India lauded and expressed its appreciation for the successful operation launched under the leadership of His Majesty the King by the Royal Government and people of Bhutan in removing the Indian insurgent groups from its soil. The two Governments reiterated their full support and cooperation in addressing cross border concerns to improve border management and security and with a view to facilitating smooth trade and commerce between the two countries.
8. His Majesty expressed the deep appreciation of the Royal Government to the Government of India for the security protection to facilitate the movement of Bhutanese vehicles and passengers through neighbouring States of West Bengal and Assam in India.
9. The State Visit of His Majesty the King of Bhutan to the Republic of India is a milestone in the close and friendly relations between India and Bhutan, and greatly contributed in further enhancing the mutual understanding, trust and friendship between the governments, leaders and peoples of the two countries.
10. On behalf of the Government and people of Bhutan, His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck thanked the government and the people of India for the warm and gracious hospitality received by him and the members of his delegation during the State Visit.
January 28, 2005
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi.