Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday arrived in Bhutan with the hope to diversify India’s partnership with the Himalayan Kingdom in hydro-power sector, trade and education.

PM Modi was received by his Bhutanese Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering on his arrival at the Paro International Airport, located 50 kms west of Thimphu.

A child presented a colourful bouquet to Modi as he stepped off the aircraft.

This is Modi’s first visit to Bhutan after re-election as Prime Minister of India.

Modi was given a colurful guard of honour by Royal Bhutan Army personnel at the airport.

The PM?said he was deeply touched by the gesture. He tweeted:

“Reached Bhutan a short while ago, marking the start of an important visit. I am extremely grateful to @PMBhutan for welcoming me at the airport. His gesture is deeply touching”.

Hydro-power will be an important sector of cooperation between the two neighbours. A power purchase agreement for Rs 5,012 crore Mangdechhu project will be signed during the visit.

The Mangdechhu project will be inaugurated jointly by the Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart during this visit.

Discussions on 2,500 MW Sankosh project are also expected to be held, sources in the MEA said.

Modi will interact with various Bhutanese leaders, including Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the king of Bhutan and former Prime Minister Tshering Togbay.

Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted: “India and Bhutan shared deep historic ties and Prime Minister’s current visit will help in its further deepening”.

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Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Bhutan assumes significance while Beijing is trying to woo Thimphu for a stronger bi-lateral relation.

India will provide Rs 400 crore for a trade support facility to encourage Bhutanese exporters, MEA sources said.

India provided Rs 5,000 crore for Bhutan’s 12th five-year plan that began in 2018.

The two PMs will inaugurate Rs 7-crore ground earth station built by ISRO to allow Bhutan to use a transponder on the South Asian Satellite for broadcast services and disaster management.

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